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Litany for the City - BOA Editions, Ltd.

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Litany for the City

By: Ryan Teitman

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Regular price $16.00

About This Title

Winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize

Selected by Jane Hirshfield from over 600 manuscripts, Litany for the City is the winner of the 10th annual A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. Of Litany for the City, Hirshfield writes "I found in this manuscript a poet doing the work of real exploration, thinking and feeling his way through images of cities both real and metaphoric, inner and outer. This book carries both startling imaginative freedoms and the impulsion of a person navigating the terrain of his life by means of the star-chart and sextant of poems––a winning combination, for me."


We tent our fingers
to make a cathedral.
This is how it’s always been
done— how a whisper
between two palms
becomes an architecture
we can’t fit into
our mouths. We hear
words like nave
and remember shoveling
piles of tulips into
a burnt-out flatbed.
An old man says
cupola, and I think
of knotty loaves
of rye stacked
like cordwood
in the baker’s pantry.
I dream of a church’s
unfinished dome
squinting upward
like the battered eye-socket
of a bare-knuckle boxer.
Every dream is its own
kind of shaky cathedral—
joists and vaults bracing
it against the weight
of another morning
invoked against us.
There’s a cathedral
built from the leg bones
of draft horses and saints.
A cathedral of birds
scaffolding the sky.
A cathedral of bodies
opening to each other
on beds smooth as altars.
A cathedral of hands
unbuttoning the skin
of every prayer
within reach.

Praise for the collection

“Read this book to renew that faith in words and in the abiding truth that there is nothing under the sky unworthy of our whole attention and fervent praise.” —The Rumpus

“The cities in Teitman’s imagination are not of mortar and stone. They are holograms of places, colors, people and possibilities…the world is made better by his view.” —The Washington Independent Review of Books

Publication Date: April 10, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-934414-80-4
© BOA Editions, Ltd. 2012