This is an eagerly awaited collection of new poems from the author of Tom Thomson in Purgatory, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was hailed by the New York Times as a "snappy, entertaining book." A triumphant follow-up to that acclaimed debut, At Lake Scugog demonstrates why the San Francisco Chronicle has called Troy Jollimore "a new and exciting voice in American poetry." Jollimore is a professional philosopher, and in witty and profound ways his formally playful poems dramatize philosophical subjects--especially the individual's relation to the larger world, and the permeable, constantly shifting border between "inner" and "outer." For instance, the speaker of "The Solipsist," suspecting that the entire world "lives inside of your skull," wonders "why / God would make ear and eye / to face outward, not in." And Tom Thomson--a character who also appeared in Jollimore's first book--finds himself journeying like an astronaut through the far reaches of the space that fills his head, an experience that prompts him to ask that a doorbell be installed "on the inside," so that he can warn the world before "intruding on't."
______ From At Lake Scugog: LOBSTERS Troy Jollimore tend to cluster in prime numbers, sub- oceanic bundles of bug consciousness submerged in waking slumber, plunged in pits of murk-black water. They have coalesced out of the pitch and grime and salt suspended within that atmospheric gloom. Their skin is colorless below. But when exposed to air, they start to radiate bright green, then, soon, a siren red that wails: I'm dead. The meat inside, though, is as white as teeth, or the hard-boiled egg that comes to mind when one cracks that crisp shell and digs beneath. Caress the toothy claw-edge of its pincer and you will know the single, simple thought that populates its mind. The lobster trap is elegance itself: one moving part: the thing that's caught.
Troy Jollimore's first book of poetry, "Tom Thomson in Purgatory", won the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award. His poems have appeared in the "New Yorker", "McSweeney's", and "The Believer", among other publications. He teaches philosophy at California State University, Chico.
I: BURN BAG 1 The Solipsist 3 At Lake Scugog 5 Regret 7 Stain 9 Lobsters 10 Nostalgia 11 In the Lobby of the Chancellor Hotel 14 Meme, I, Self, and Eye 16 Ars Poetica 19 On Location 20 Love Poem 21 The Errand 22 II: TOM THOMSON IN FLIGHT 23 III: IMPERCEPTIBLY 41 IV: THE STARS, THE HIGHWAYS 55 Want 57 Gate 58 Free Rider 59 Two Hearts 62 Advisory 65 Organ Music 66 Workshop Poems 71 Promise 73 To His Lover 74 The Hunter 75 Remembered Summer 77 His Masters Voice 78 Acknowledgments 88