The University of Wisconsin Press



Taken Somehow by Surprise
David Clewell

Introducing the
Four Lakes Poetry
Ronald Wallace, General Editor

This new series presents new poetry collections from past winners of the Brittingham Prize and Felix Pollak Prize contests

The inaugural book in the new Four Lakes Poetry series

David Clewell’s spirited poems cut through the noise we too often accommodate in our daily lives. Breath by surprising breath, this poet takes us into chambers of the heart that have never been mapped quite this way before. By turns raucous and strangely soothing, narrative and lyrical, Clewell traffics in unlikely and compelling details of our mostly discernible world: a school custodian’s role in the burgeoning Space Race, the vastness of abandoned missile silos, the first lawn flamingos, and the living fossil still using a typewriter.

Just shy of fifty years since it arrived, the classic pink flamingo’s gone extinct, done in by the rising cost of plastic and unrelenting flood of Chinese knockoffs.
—from “The Flamingos Have Left the Building”
© The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved.

At Hamilton Elementary we watched every Mercury launch between the Pledge of Allegiance and our ration of morning milk on the battered TV that janitor Geiss always lugged into our room, trailing a whiff of the Lucky Strikes that somehow kept him going in the humble boiler-room office he liked to call his very own Mission Control.
                       The entire class would count down together until the launch-tower fell away, the rocket-booster fuel igniting with the kind of brilliant firepower that in those days never failed to lift our skittish hearts into our throats. We were suckers for anything astronautical—the suits, the helmets, the very idea of leaving the outmoded Earth behind us for a while. We’d come to live for the chance of escaping the pull of preadolescent gravity.

—from “Home Movies of the Space Race”
© The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved.

This is a photo of the poet David Clewell.David Clewell is author of seven previous collections of poetry, including The Low End of Higher Things and Now We’re Getting Somewhere, 1994 winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry. He is Poet Laureate of Missouri as well as professor and director of creative writing in the English department of Webster University in St. Louis.

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March 2011
LC: 2010046334 PS
144 pp.   7 x 9

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Paper $16.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-25114-7
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"David Clewell is an exuberant, inexhaustible poet. . . . His unstoppable narrative energy and his multi-layered curiosity are almost enough to drive this poet out to the far right side of the page."
—Billy Collins, former U.S. Poet Laureate




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Updated May 18, 2011

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