The Night Guard at the Wilberforce Hotel

The Night Guard at the Wilberforce Hotel

by Daniel Anderson


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The poems in The Night Guard at the Wilberforce Hotel navigate the evanescent boundaries between the public and the private self. Daniel Anderson’s settings are often social but never fail to turn inward, drowning out the chatter of conversation to quietly observe the truths that we simultaneously share and withhold from one another—even as we visit friends, celebrate a young couple’s union, or eavesdrop on the conversations of others.

These twenty poems include meditations on teaching hungover undergraduates, wine tasting among snobs, and engaging the war on terror from the comfort of the suburbs. They are alternately driven by ornamental language that seeks to clarify and crystallize the beauties of our common world and the poet’s faith that fellowship ultimately trumps partisanship. Even as they weigh and measure the darkness of the heart and the sometimes rash and stingy movements of the mind, the poems refrain from pronouncing judgment on their characters. As much as they ponder, they also celebrate in exact, careful, and loving terms the haunting and bracing stimuli from which they originate.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421413471
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 04/21/2014
Series: Johns Hopkins: Poetry and Fiction
Pages: 80
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Daniel Anderson teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Oregon and is a winner of the Pushcart Prize. He is author of January Rain and Drunk in Sunlight, published by Johns Hopkins, and editor of The Selected Poems of Howard Nemerov.

Table of Contents

I The Night Guard at the Wilberforce Hotel 3

Pardon and Amnesty 5

Almost 8

In Vino Veritas 11

From Here to There 15

Epithalamion in a Minor Key 18

At Advent's End 21

II This First Hot Saturday in May 27

A Late Apology 29

Provinces 31

Teaching The Merchant of Venice 34

The Hills, Beautiful Hills 37

Insomnia at Forty-Six 40

Easter Sundays 42

III Labor Day 47

The Novelist to His Characters 49

Someone Is Burning Leaves 51

Four Voices for the Afterlife 54

Mare Cognitum 60

Now: A Benediction 62

Acknowledgments 65

What People are Saying About This

Maurice Manning

The sensory realm of these poems is as slow and subtle as melting snow. The world is muffled and muted. What matters is how the mind goes into the observed world to illuminate it with thought, to stir its flagging passions, and even to bring it hope. This is a jolting and beautiful book, one I will go back to again and again.

Claudia Emerson

The finely rendered voice in Daniel Anderson’s The Night Guard at the Wilberforce Hotel is one of wisdom and vulnerability, hard–earned resolve, and steadfast wonder. His attention—a "supple, taut, and silken net"—suspends between seemingly opposite and equally forceful gravities, one that belongs to "a dull, protracted age / Of worry, ambiguity, and doubt," and the other to a pure desire "that certain days—this one— / may never end." The result is transfiguring. Anderson is in firm possession of the rare ability to make "our exhausted, ruthless world / seem limitless once more." I am supremely grateful for The Night Guard at the Wilberforce Hotel.

Richard Wilbur

Daniel Anderson's fine new poems are plain spoken, and yet their outwardness turns subtly inward as we read and endows each subject with depth and discovery.

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