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Human Costume
July 2009

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Asbestos Brocade
February 2017

Late Breaking

A.E. Stringer

ISBN: 978-1-908836-48-9

Page Count: 86

Publication Date: Friday, February 15, 2013

Cover Artwork: Cover Design: Mary McDonnell

About this Book

Stringer is a poet of complexity and range… [he] beckons and invites us into his labyrinth.  Rory Brennan, Books Ireland

These poems accelerate so swiftly, so often, and so well from exposition/narrative/contemplation to vivid image and linguistic delight that they 1) almost always surprise 2) frequently amaze and 3) always, always tell us, show us, force us to realize what poetry can do.  Quitman Marshall on Human Costume

For Stringer, human beings are living languages.  Dennis Finnell, Denver Quarterly

Author Biography

A. E. Stringer is the author of two collections of poems, Channel Markers (Wesleyan University Press) and Human Costume (Salmon Poetry).  His work has appeared in such journals as The Nation, Antaeus, The Ohio Review, Denver Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Poetry Northwest, and in Backcountry: Contemporary Writing in West Virginia.  He also edited and introduced an edition of Louise McNeill’s Paradox Hill (West Virginia University Press).  For twenty-four years, he has taught writing and literature at Marshall University.

Read a sample from this book


Lost continents of no doubt higher cultures,

the famous lost tribes, whole years lost in search of.

Lost acuities, lost causes, lost glaciers,

lost dogs, and moreover, dog tags fallen

in muddy impressions of combat boot-soles,

how all washed away.  And how paradise was lost:

bad angel wanted his halo back, too badly.

All the lost children of conflict, neglect,

cruelty, and shame.  Never forgive yourself.

Lost in action, lost in thought, listing

every name and losing count, left to grinding

driftwood sticks together, furious for light

that’s lost inside them, for a loser weeps but not

in words, and then is lost without them.

Rapture Monday

Because we love them, the living dead
in their stylish graveclothes getting on the bus
or having lunch in the park, because
we love them, they do not look dead.

Overhead, galaxies in deep space pinwheel
for eons into each other, diamond whirlpools
hurling out blistering coronas and sidereal
travesties so far reaching even this noon
sky would look like burning confetti—bang
and whimper—if we could close our eyes to see.

There is but one god after all—hand
at the throat, riptide so close to shore
we walk right into it and disappear, lovers,
believers for the rest of our lives.

Landscape with Waterfall

after Hiroshige

Style of a hanging screen
scaled down, monochromatic,
museum print no wider
than my hand.  High country
runoff threads through
sheer rock, snowmelt falling
as rain, foreground
hint of plum blossom.
Two roofs—wood smoke?

Here south of February,
a skim of snow glazes a stream
near thaw.  Step into the scene

full scale: late leaves
fallen.  By inexplicable craft,
they have come to be
embedded to the depth
of a hand.  The ice
traces each outline, ever
faithful.  Deeper, a sheet
of water flowing—soundless—
over shelves of bedrock.

Poems © Copyright A.E. Stringer 2013

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