The University of Wisconsin Press



Now We're Getting Somewhere
David Clewell

The Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry
Ronald Wallace, General Editor

"From the patient prose of 'Lost in the Fire' to such zany brevities as 'Vegetarian Physics,' David Clewell's book ranges widely and omnivorously. His wit and energy seem inexhaustible, and he reminds us that the world is, too."
—Henry Taylor, Felix Pollak Prize Citation

Winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, 1994

David Clewell's graceful, honest lines accumulate and remind us that poems can be as tangible, as substantial, as redemptive as those things the poet will not let go unspoken in the world. His compassionate witness is born out of immersion in doggedly bittersweet particulars: the cockeyed wisdom of 1950s science fiction movies; Do Not Disturb signs; vegetarian physics; the perils of bed-and-breakfast lodging; flying saucer disciples; what to do in case of Rapture; Debbie Fuller, reluctant childhood angel; the theory and practice of Spontaneous Human Combustion. His passionate transformation of that raw data into song-no matter how fragile or raucous-provides irrefutable testimony about the consequences of being nothing less than human, where "every day someone crawls out of his ocean of sleep / and takes those first tottering steps on the planet again, / he's playing with real fire." And with Clewell's insistence on the unlikely grace in that condition, along with the generosity of his unabashed inclusiveness, his poetry is a powerful antidote to the bad medicine we're too often asked to swallow.

This is a book of sustenance, of fresh assurances that come to us—ready or not—out of the blue of this spirited poet's most engaging work yet.

David Clewell is the author of five previous collections of poems, including Blessings in Disguise, a winner in the National Poetry Series. He has received many national honors and prizes for his work, most recently the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. Clewell teaches writing and literature at Webster University in St. Louis.

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The cover of Clewell's book is illustrated with a bizarre photo of a room full of stuffied UFO alien dolls.

November 1994

LC: 94-010665 PS
96 pp.  6 x 8

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Paper $14.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-14414-2
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