EWU Title » Poetry
Boys Whistling Like Canaries
Boys Whistling like Canaries is a journey through the political cruelty of the past century. The connecting thread is the relationship between father and son, parent and child, and the complexity of basic survival in the face of the annihilation wrought by inhuman disregard. Sweeping through a landscape framed by religion and literature, the poems argue that history has consistently failed to inoculate us against war and oppression—against the tyranny of governments who turn on their people, people who turn on their neighbors—even as the voice behind the poems refuses to lose hope for the eventuality of Lincoln's "better angles of our nature."
Jorn Ake began as a painter, graduating from the College of William and Mary with a BA in fine arts. Ten years later, he moved to Arizona to complete an MFA in creative writing at Arizona State University. His first collection of poems, Asleep in the Lightning Fields, won the 2001 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize and was published by Texas Review Press in 2002. Popular Ink released a chapbook of his work, All About the Blind Spot and Other Poems, in 2007, and his second full-length collection, The Circle Line, is forthcoming from The Backwaters Press. He began writing Boys Whistling like Canaries in Prague, where he lived for three years. He currently lives in New York City.
Boys Whistling like Canaries is a collection haunted by the grim history of the twentieth century and by how its legacy continues so troublesomely to endure. Ake tackles the most vexing subjects—among them our current wars, the Holocaust, and Cold War totalitarianism—yet he reckons with them without resorting to bromides, polemics, or the benumbing timidity that so often afflicts the work of American poets when they seek to confront injustice. In his rangy and querulous approach, Ake recalls the work of two of our finest poets of social conscience, George Oppen and Thomas McGrath. To be linked with them is no small accomplishment.
—David Wojahn, final judge, Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry 2008
To purchase Boys Whistling Like Canaries by Jorn Ake, please contact our distributor, University Press of New England toll free at 1-800-421-1561 or by fax at 1-603-448-9729. The book is also available online at UPNE, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine retailers.
To request a copy for review, please contact the Carnegie Mellon University Press Editorial Offices at (412) 268-2861 or by email at CarnegieMellonUniversityPress@gmail.com.