POETRY AND FICTION by JOHN BLAIR
PLAYFUL SONG CALLED BEAUTIFUL
Winner of the 2015 Iowa Poetry Prize
“In John Blair’s Playful Song Called Beautiful, rolling tercets become the unlikely medium for all manner of slippery, expansive, and emotive thinking. In these quietly arresting poems, opposites rhyme and the past gains all the grit of the present. And yet, amidst all this memory, ‘There is no future.’ For Blair, poetry is process, a forum where ‘Today is under / construction, thank you / for waiting.’ Nietzsche, Galileo, Goethe, Plato, Joyce, and others make visitations, and they, too, suffer the pressure, ‘the lovely pain’ of the present, must mean something now to this fierce, philosophical, and unforgiving sensibility. Blair’s poetry is shifting and its mutable meaning is ‘all the comfort you need, all / the comfort you get.’”—Craig Morgan Teicher, judge, 2015 Iowa Poetry Prize
Winner of the 2002 Drue Heinz Literature Prize
AMERICAN STANDARD consists of short stories set mostly in central Florida, populated by people living lives of disquieting longing and stubborn isolation.
"An achievement of realism enhanced by a thoughtful, forgiving imagination." —Elizabeth Hardwick
"The characters’ flailings and failures provoke that tingle of self-recognition (such anger, such loss could so easily be mine!) which only well-imagined stories can prompt."—Martha S. Cooley
THE GREEN GIRLS
Winner of the 2001 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Series Award
Green is the color of beginnings, of memory and regeneration, of the "fluid arc of what has been, / forever becoming us." John Blair's debut poetry collection, The Green Girls, takes the reader on a journey through life as it explores such subjects as marriage, family, and sex. Written in several voices, from husband and wife, brother and sister, young and old, the poems remind us that paradise "doesn't invite us back." Although filled with sadness and pain, Blair's elegantly written free verse resonates with a quiet optimism even while discussing losses and lapse that give life both its terror and its potential for redemption.
Winner of the Tampa Review Prize in Poetry
Tampa Review judges commented that THE OCCASIONS OF PARADISE “lives up to its title with ample moments of near perfection, both in its individual poems and in the book as a whole.”
“The poems are filled with lyrical abundance. The cadences uplift and inspire,” the judges wrote. “Each poem is not only terrific on its own, but is skillfully placed and arranged to contribute to a perfectly satisfying collection. The sheer abundance of creative energy in this book—the beauty of poem after poem at once spontaneous and brilliantly constructed—mirrors the deft hand of a creator that inspires with awe, transports with beauty, and puzzles with questions.”