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Pagan Virtues

Paperback Book
WW Norton
December, 2021
$21.95 CAD
Publisher’s Description: 

Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Dunn returns with his signature morbid wit, intellectual daring, and emotive powers on full display.

In this meditative and incisive collection, Stephen Dunn draws on themes of morality and mortality to explore the innermost machinations of human nature. Shifting in tone but never wavering in their essential honesty, these poems reflect on desire, restraint, and the roles we play in an ever-evolving society. In Pagan Virtues, Dunn reminds us of his penetrating eye for the universal and the specific, and his ability to highlight our contradictions with tenderness and wit.

Two poems dedicated to Dunns eulogist, in advance, bookend the collection. The first introduces us to the poets sardonic candor and unflinching gaze at his own mortality, while the latter, written nineteen years later, reflects on what it means to continue to live in the despoiled and radiant now. A stunning sequence on the relationship between the speaker and Mrs. Cavendish examines an intimacy sustained and repelled by politics, philosophy, and attraction. Wry, observational, and wide-reaching, Pagan Virtues offers indispensable truths from a master of contemporary poetry.

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