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Ground Forces

Ground Forces

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"I am throwing no phony bouquets when I say that, on reading this, I often felt, as someone once said, like putting my quill back in my goose. Allen manages to be funny, deeply reverent, judicious, and moving all in the same breaths. He is one of the best poets going."
Sydney Lea

"'Long awaited', doesn't nearly cover the lapse that is redressed with the publication of Paul Allen's Ground Forces. Allen is an American original, whose darker visions are redeemed by the lights assembled here. Here then - or hear then - a mighty dose of what Dr. Williams called 'the ground sense necessary'. And we are all the better for his gifts."
Thomas Lynch

"In writing Ground Forces Paul Allen enters with terrific energy into the tradition of the mystic poets: In a poetry by turns ecstatic, searching, and raw, Allen examines the religious experience found in the everyday trials of living. Perhaps it's an osprey on a high-power line fringed with light, or the boy hitchhiker with a bad tooth that most shy away from, or the alcoholic undertaker who pieces together the suicide's skull. What we learn from Allen is how each of these 'least of these' enhances and tests our own humanity. It's brave work he's done for us here."
Carol Ann Davis

"Ground Forces is about brokenness - brokenness and, with richly explored theological implications, everything in the broken world, the fallen world. The voice of these poems is wildly funny, often profane (and sometimes that profanity is ironic and sometimes it's pure rage) but always exact, smart, self-aware, and driven to a song like nothing else I know in contemporary poetry."
Andrew Hudgins

"The irresistible truthtelling at the heart of Paul Allen's work brings a joy of fellow feeling seldom available in contemporary poetry."
Michael Heffernan

"Don't buy this book... just because of its themes and its humor. Buy it because it is the best collection of American poems of the year."
Ron Cooper

Paul Allen teaches courses in poetry, form and meter, and writing song lyrics at The College of Charleston, in Charleston, SC, USA, where he is Professor of English. His poems have appeared in a number of journals, as well as in several anthologies, including Odd Angles of Heaven: Contemporary Poetry by People of Faith, Real Things: An Anthology of Popular Culture in American Poetry, The Seagull Reader: Poetry, and Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry: South Carolina. He has received the South Carolina Arts Commission's Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry twice, the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, the Vassar Miller Poetry Prize, the South Carolina Academy of Authors Fellowship, the John Williams Andrews Narrative Poetry Prize from Poet Lore, the Distinguished Research Award from The College of Charleston (2007), and a Pushcart (XXXII, 2008). His books include American Crawl and His Longing. His CD, The Man with the Hardest Belly: Poems and Songs, has sold out but is available for download through and Napster. Recently he has appeared on NPR and has read at Callenwolde Arts Center in Atlanta, the Iota Club and Café (Washington DC), and the Millennial Stage of The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.