Charms Against Lightning

Charms Against Lightning

by James Arthur


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"That feeling of becoming a new person in a different place, even if it's an illusion, is intoxicating to me, and always has been. I love writing about places, but only places where I don't belong."—James Arthur

Awakening is the theme of this fiery debut about the "ghost world" of shadows and personae. A sense of history, politics, and place is an integrated and integral part of the whole, alive with stirring accounts of travel, intimate moments of solitude, and encounters with the ineffable. Romantic in spirit and contemporary in outlook, James Arthur writes exciting, rhythmical, elastic poems.

"Charms against Lightning"

Against meningitis and poisoned milk,
flash floods and heartwreck, against daydreams Against losing your fingers, drinking detergent,
earthquakes, baldness, divorce, against falling in love with a child Against lupus and lawsuits, lying stranded between nations,
against secrets and frostbite, the burring of trains that never arrive Against songlessness, your mother's depression,
the death of the cedars, Siberian crane Against these talismans against lightning;
the shutters swing, and clack their yellow teeth;
the deep sky welters and the windows quiver

James Arthur's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Poetry, and Narrative. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, and raised in Toronto, Ontario, he earned degrees from the University of Toronto, the University of New Brunswick, and the University of Washington. He is a recent recipient of the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University and lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781556593871
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
Publication date: 11/06/2012
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

James Arthur: James Arthur’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Poetry, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, and Narrative, among others. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, and raised in Toronto, Canada, he received a BA from Trinity College, University of Toronto, an MA from the University of New Brunswick, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Table of Contents


5 Charms Against Lightning

6 The Kitchen Weeps Onion

7 Ghost Life

8 Utopia

9 Drying Out

10 Drinking Song

11 Vertigo

12 In Praise of Noise

13 At Klipsan Beach

14 The Death of the Painter

15 Vertigo


19 Independence

20 Omnivore

21 Tyrrhenian Sea

22 At the Protestant Cemetery

23 On Day and Night

24 Kiss

25 Song of the Doppelganger

26 In Defense of the Semicolon

27 Avocado

28 Fatherhood

29 Exoskeleton

30 Vertigo

31 Against Emptiness


35 In Praise of the Indeterminate

36 The Disconnected Man

37 Bucephalus, Charging

38 In a Parallel Universe

39 Poem from Behind a Gorilla Mask

40 Disintegration

41 The Sympathy of Angels

42 Sad Robots

43 Oysterville

44 Reed Ships

45 The Names of Flowers

46 Aspirations

47 Sprezzatura

48 Gooseberry


51 The Land of Nod

52 Distracted by an Ergonomic Bicycle

53 Swimming Pool

54 Daylight Savings

55 You Are the Canal Dividing a City

56 Epithalamium

57 Rapid Transit

58 Tropical Bats

59 Summer Song

61 About the Author

63 Acknowledgments

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