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Brief Nudity

Larry O. Dean

ISBN: 978-1-908836-40-3

Page Count: 82

Publication Date: Friday, February 15, 2013

Cover Artwork: © Thomas Wirt 

About this Book

Brief Nudity’s poems are concerned with the juxtaposition between elegy and irreverence. The first section, opening with an epigraph by singer-songwriter John Prine, is anchored by a quartet of persona poems recounted from the perspective of victims of the 1989 Bay Area Loma Prieta earthquake, an event that Larry O. Dean encountered firsthand. Other poems in this section are more personal, delving into familial reminiscence, the fragility of friendships, and urban living. A quote by gonzo rock ’n’ roll journalist Lester Bangs starts the second section. Fellow pundit Greil Marcus defined Bangs’ endeavors as “one man’s attempt to confront his loathing of the world, his love for it, and to make sense of what he found in the world and within himself.” Bangs’ comment on the misguided notion that art needs be “serious,” and Marcus’ characterization of his colleague's sui generis oeuvre guide this section's selections—poems lampooning and extolling popular culture’s stranglehold on our collective unconscious, verbally playful and boisterous verse.

“Larry O. Dean can be a gentle satirist as well as a boisterous one, presenting a micro-lecture on the psychology of a traffic light or proposing a new list of baby names that includes Splenda and Grey Poupon. His poems range from compact and startling lyrics about a Midwestern boyhood to a range of dramatic monologues in the voices of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake victims, as well as Evel Knievel, and Tom DeLay. Dean knows when to write in crisp short lines, when to play with the music of rhyme, when to let his poems roll along on word play, and when to notch things up to performance poetry, as he does in his slam-worthy number on the ‘Angry Whopper.’  In all its voices and variety, Brief Nudity is a pleasure to read.” 
Debra Bruce
author of Survivors’ Picnic

“Larry O. Dean’s Brief Nudity is part funhouse, part roller coaster, part haunted house. These poems explode off the page with humor, warmth, and empathy as he skillfully channels a wide range of voices and characters, embracing both the ordinary and the extraordinary. Dean brings the precision and the improvisation of a skilled musician to the page, riffing, dodging, weaving. Larry O. Dean rocks.” 
Jim Daniels
author of Birth Marks

“Not since Philip Levine has a writer reminded us so compellingly that life is a blue-collar profession. Whether it’s an older guy getting grimy in a car plant or a schoolkid cobbling together the world’s most howlingly funny science report, these poems show how we struggle, bang our heads against the wall, roar in anguish when we fail, guffaw when everything works out anyway. Larry O. Dean puts his back into these poems, and that makes for a mighty smooth ride for us lucky readers.” 
David Kirby
Associate Director, Creative Writing Program, Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English, Florida State University

“Larry O. Dean’s new collection of poems Brief Nudity strips away the everydayness of life down to the bone of what we have often forgotten and sometimes lost to this crazy, messed up contemporary world. These are the poems of the real in American life, from the Eldorado of Aunt Lily’s Illinois farm to a hospital administrator’s memories of The Wizard of Oz in California. This new book has plenty of meditations on the small, but important, aspects of life that we ignore at our own peril: the psychology of a stoplight, coming home to a neighborhood in Michigan, a lady yelling at her chocolate lab on a street corner, and even a testimonial poem about the penis that abides. Grit, detail, sensitive contemplations and bursts of life so good that they will offer readers new ways to look at what once passed as the ordinary.” 
M. L. Liebler
Detroit Poet and Editor of Working Words: 
Punching the Clock & Kicking Out the Jams

“In Brief Nudity, Larry O. Dean does what he does best: observe, observe, observe, create. Whether it is writing in the voices of others, from those of his Loma Prieta poems to the voice of Tom DeLay, or writing about Louis Pasteur and his Jeff Goldblum (not the other), or simply observing the way he and others move through the world, Dean writes from the position of one who sees attentively and with wit, brashness, and a jazz/blues/funk sense of the poem. It all works. The brief is in the quickness with which he makes the poem happen, the nudity in the style that, never plain, is still bare and wonderfully efficient.” 
Mark Statman
author of Tourist at a Miracle

“Poet Larry O. Dean is equal parts storyteller, trickster, and urban philosopher. He’s a rock and roll showman, and a gifted speaker in tongues. These poems may roam from Chicago to San Francisco, but Dean’s voice carries the sensibility of his native Flint and “the factory’s tangible / funky tattoo, the fetor / of hardware and harder / living.” A huge shout-out for Brief Nudity.” 
Katrina Vandenberg
author of The Alphabet Not Unlike the World and Atlas

Author Biography

Larry O. Dean was born in Flint, Michigan. As a young man, he worked with filmmaker Michael Moore, cartooned for fanzines, and published essays and reviews on music and popular culture in the alternative press. He is the author of ten chapbooks; his work has been widely anthologized, and translated into Chinese, Italian, and Spanish. In addition, he is a singer, songwriter, and producer, working both solo as well as with several 'hard pop' bands, including The Fussbudgets, Malcontent, Post Office, The Me Decade, and The Injured Parties. Since 2001 he has hosted a monthly songwriter showcase, Folk You! After living in San Francisco for over a decade, he makes his home in Chicago. Contact him at 

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