The University of Wisconsin Press



The Unbeliever
Lisa Lewis

The Brittingham Prize in Poetry
Ronald Wallace, General Editor

"The eyes and voice here could easily be those of a fine fiction writer. Lisa Lewis has a secure touch with narrative, and a prodigal ease with details both gritty and lovely. The result is a collection of extraordinarily powerful poems."
—Henry Taylor, Brittingham Prize Citation

Winner of the 1994 Brittingham Prize in Poetry

Lisa Lewis's first collection of poems meditates on people in trouble searching for a way out, people whose faith has been tested and found wanting. The child who believes in God only on Christmas Eve, the teenage girl exploring her sexuality and finding herself forever under male control, the young woman struggling in a violent relationship, a driver locked in the secure world of her car deliberately swerving close to a traffic cop or using her commuting time to dream of leaving her marriage, the men who frequent massage parlors and therapists or threaten to rape the moon— all have in common secret skepticism and isolation.

These poems address with compassion and intensity the wariness of women and men together, the distance between them as they attempt to bridge their destructive failures. In long lines loaded with the eccentric details of human life, the vision of The Unbeliever is dark, funny, and not without hope as it follows the characters through connections sought and set at odds by difference and circumstance.

Lisa Lewis has published her work in many reviews and journals, including Poetry East, Agni, and American Poetry Review. Her poem, "The Urinating Man," was reprinted in Best American Poetry 1993. Her book Silent Treatment was published in 1998 by Penguin Books as a National Poetry Series selection. She directs the creative writing program at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

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The cover of Lewis's book is pale blue, and features a photo of a kiva ladder with dark mountains in the distance.

November 1994

LC: 94-010661 PS
72 pp.    6 x 9

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Paper $14.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-14404-3
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