The University of Wisconsin Press


The Lightning That Strikes the Neighbors' House
Nick Lantz

The Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry
Ronald Wallace, General Editor

•Winner of the 2010 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, selected by Robert Pinsky
•Finalist, Foreword Magazine’s Poetry Book of the Yea

Nick Lantz explores the transformative power of tragic and miraculous experiences, through these poems that illuminate near misses of tragedy and transcendence. His gaze is both roving and microscopic—the Challenger explosion, Bigfoot, a love letter written from inside a missile silo, a mother naming and renaming a family's short-lived pets, and a plea for post-9/11 redemption. Lantz never lets his subjects or his readers off the hook, plunging head first into worlds that are both eccentric and familiar, alarming and hopeful.

    What can be said about grace
                                                           that does not diminish it?
To play a drunk, the best actors pretend to be sober.
The street mime ladles water
                                                     from his leaky canoe.
Of the blind dog and the three-legged rabbit he chases, only
            one can be lucky tonight. Our cousins race
                                                                                        every train
to its crossing on principle; it’s no surprise they win.

—excerpt from "Conditional"
© The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved.

"Lantz is a poet of many talents, but perhaps his greatest gift is juxtaposition. . . . We listen, amazed, as in poem after poem these notations we would have thought dissonant in fact harmonize, and then crescendo. That I can't figure out how he does it just heightens the thrill." —Joel Brouwer

"Blending pop culture with history, dark humor with philosophy, and lyric intensity with a confident narrative voice, The Lightning That Strikes the Neighbors' House adds up to be far greater than the sum of its parts. The end result is a wise, intelligent book that lingers long after being read, and which further proves that Nick Lantz —despite the lethal irony of his work—is a poet to be believed in."—Kevin González

This is a photo of poet Nick Lantz.Nick Lantz is a writer and editor in Madison, Wisconsin, and a former Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. He is author of We Don't Know We Don't Know, winner of the Breadloaf Writers' Conference Bakeless Prize.

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The Lightning That Strikes the Neighbors' House

March 2010

LC: 2009040095 PS
80 pp.   6 x 9

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Paper $14.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-23584-0
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“Nick Lantz’s impressive poems are remarkable for their range and the variety of ways they maneuver down the page. . . . This is one of the finest books I’ve read in years.”
—Vern Rutsala    

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Updated May 2, 2012

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