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The Civil War in Baltimore, Poems by Jerry Wemple
Jerry Wemple's The Civil War in Baltimore is a book that crosses divides: between North and South, between white and black, between history and the present. The chorus of voices in his poetry sings a collective lament about American scars and the longing to be healed.
"In austere and impeccable language that resonates over a setting as bare as a tragic stage, Jerry Wemple's wonderful new collection, The Civil War in Baltimore, takes the reader on an almost unbearable journey that moves through half empty towns where 'each summer more girls depart:/This one to classrooms in State College./Another married, off living in Lewistown,/Clerking in the county courthouse.' Everything is heading out and away toward more trouble. From these meager lives and places, Jerry Wemple creates real beauty, compassing, and understanding. The Civil War in Baltimore is a triumph."--Harry Humes
"Jerry Wemple's subject in these poems, as the title of the collection might imply, is history. The history revealed in these poems is both the larger narrative of this country, and of black people brought to its shores, and the individual stories the author carries, ones that are ostensibly his own as well as those passed down within his family. The beauty of this collection is when these two histories intersect in a poem, as they do often throughout the book. In the case of the two lovers in the collection's title poem for instance, Wemple says: 'It's an old story; they weren't the first:/Temptation, risk, consequence. It's/An old game.' Wemple's poems achieve such an air of prophecy through a diction and syntax that is remarkably bare and direct. In this way, his poems crystallize a past that continues to define who we are and who we are yet to become, as individuals and as a nation."--Shara McCallum
Jerry Wemple's first book-length collection, You Can See It from Here (Lotus Press, 2000), won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award. His poems and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous publications including Ninth Letter, 5 AM, West Branch, Connecticut Review, and The Drexel Online Journal. He was awarded a Fellowship in Literature from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and teaches at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania.
ISBN: 1933456078, 80 pages, $17.00