Campbell McGrath: In the Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys

Friday, April 13, at 8 pm, MacArthur genius grant and Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award winner Campbell McGrath will be reading from his new book of poetry, IN THE KINGDOM OF THE SEA MONKEYS (Ecco Press/HarperCollins), at Books and Books, 265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables, FL.

Come early for wine and cheese beforehand!

This electric collection of poetry asks us to love what lasts amid the detritus of American culture,

After nearly a decade, In the Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys marks a return for Campbell McGrath to the poetic forms that brought him national acclaim—lyrical meditations on American art and society by turns satirical, tender, and haunted by the merciless work of time. In poems such as “Dick Cheney Speaks to Me in a Dream” and “Shopping for Pomegranates at Wal-Mart on New Year’s Day,” McGrath explores the intersection of the personal and the public realms of American culture like no other poet at work today. Whether he’s documenting the decay and transformation of American cities, eulogizing Allen Ginsberg and Frank O’Hara, or rhapsodizing on the extramortal lifespan of books, McGrath writes poems of dazzling energy, intelligence, humor, and engagement. In the Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys is a collection of dreams, visions, jibes, essays, arguments, and love songs, each of them transformed into poetry by one of our most honored and entertaining poets.

Campbell McGrath (born 1962) is a notable modern American poet. He is the author of nine full-length collections of poetry, including his most recent, Seven Notebooks (Ecco Press, 2008), Shannon: A Poem of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (Ecco Press, 2009), and In the Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys (Ecco Press, forthcoming, 2012).

While primarily known as a poet, McGrath has also written a play, “The Autobiography of Edvard Munch” (produced by Concrete Gothic Theater, Chicago, 1983); a libretto for Orlando Garcia’s experimental video opera “Transcending Time” (premiered at the New Music Biennalle, Zagreb, Croatia, 2009); collaborated with the video artist John Stuart on the video/poetry piece “14 Views of Miami” (premiered at The Wolfsonian, Miami, 2008); and translated the Aristophanes play The Wasps for the Penn Greek Drama Series.

McGrath has been recognized by some of the most prestigious American poetry awards, including the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award (for The Bob Hope Poem in Spring Comes to Chicago, his third book of poems), a Pushcart Prize, the Academy of American Poets Prize, a Ploughshares Cohen Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, and a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award.” In 2011 he was named a Fellow of United States Artists.

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