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The Word We Used For It

Wisconsin Poetry Series
Ronald Wallace, Series Editor

Winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry, selected by Robert Wrigley

Memory, perhaps, is the longest poem of all

In these poems Max Garland confesses, even revels in, the fabricated nature of memory. He links personal and localized patterns (fingerprints, plowed fields) to the motions animating the insides of atoms and the unfurling of remote galaxies. Back on earth, the poems honor the decidedly homespun quality of grit—how creatures both animal and human bear up in the face of mounting odds against them. Garland suggests that imagination itself requires grit, to be called upon when the more spectacular angels are otherwise occupied.


Max GarlandMax Garland, originally from Kentucky, is the author of The Postal Confessions and Hunger Wide as Heaven. He is a former poet laureate of Wisconsin, a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, and the first writer-in-residence for the city of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Photo Credit: Lisa Venticinque




“Garland’s long-limbed, resonant poems beg to be read aloud. Accessible, finely intelligent, laced with good humor, this is his best collection yet.”
—David Graham, author of Stutter Monk

“Somewhere between the joyous ecstasies of Rumi and the sweet and sometimes doleful observations of Whitman, there's a spot on the continuum of poetry where Max Garland sits and says his luscious, witty, remarkable poems. He gives us the it at the heart of existence, which for all but the finest of artists is all-too-often unreachable.”
—Robert Wrigley

“Each poem is a gift of seeing, a gift of reflection, a mirror for the holy. We, as readers, get to taste what language can do when it melts into our tongues, flavors our lives.”
—Kao Kalia Yang, author of The Late Homecomer


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The Word We Used For It

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November 2017
LC: 2017015525 PS
72 pp. 6 x 9

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Paper $14.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-31434-7
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