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Almost Nothing To Be Scared Of

Wisconsin Poetry Series
Ronald Wallace, Series Editor

Winner of the Four Lakes Prize in Poetry

“David Clewell has a lot to say, peppering his essayistic poems with lopsided wit and keen observations on the spectacle of American culture. His social commentary deserves a gang of listeners for the truth of his insights and the sheer fun of the delivery. By the way, did you know that the Inverted Atomic Drop was a wrestling move? With this book in hand, you'll learn that and more.”
—Billy Collins

Full of Clewell’s distinctive blend of narrative and lyric, as well as his unabashed, idiosyncratic sense of wonder, these poems often spring from unlikely sources: Adam and Eve’s Paradisal do-over at the Jersey shore, the misguided promise of tinfoil hats, Uncle Bud on the Moon, Debbie Fuller on Pluto, debatable Bigfoot nomenclature, Richard Nixon’s social-media rejuvenation, and a Nebraska policeman’s run-in with space aliens who tell him, “We want you to believe in us—but not too much.”

In Almost Nothing To Be Scared Of, David Clewell’s most expansive work yet, readers will discover a multiplicity of new ways to take heart—surely no small thing in a world where we’re too often asked to take what we’d rather not.

The sign said NO SWIMMING AFTER DARK, so
they didn’t—having grown considerably more circumspect
since the last time they went against the wishes of Management.
Still, they figured it might be all right to go naked
once more and not be ashamed. Those were days of good cheer
in the Garden, but this time Adam couldn’t stop humming
Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weeny Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini. Even though
the words were impossibly beyond him, Eve in a bikini was not.

—excerpt from “The Real Story of Adam and Eve, Wherein the True Cradle of Civilization Is Revealed,” © The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved.


Author. Photo credit, Name David Clewell is the author of a dozen books of poetry, including Taken Somehow by Surprise, The Low End of Higher Things, Now We’re Getting Somewhere, Jack Ruby’s America, and Blessings in Disguise. He is a former poet laureate of Missouri and also formerly a circus laborer, professional weight-guesser, and professional wrestler. He currently labors as a professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program at Webster University in Saint Louis.





“Clewell writes poems of every length, from two liners that are precise as lasers, to monsters that crawl over page after page. These are beautiful monsters. . . . These poems pulsate with stories we need to hear.”
Today’s Book of Poetry

“Clewell’s lanky, chatty, extravagant, gimlet-eyed poems would make Ulysses ask to be tied to the mast again, they’re that seductive. This collection not only provides a place to catch our breath—it administers CPR to any disheartened reader.”
—Ron Koertge



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Almost Nothing To Be Scared Of
Larger images

April 2016
LC: 2015036811 PS
152 pp. 7 x 9

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Paperback $14.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-30724-0
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