Cover image for Pennsylvania collection agency
Pennsylvania collection agency
Burkard, Michael, 1947-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Kalamazoo, MI : New Issues, Western Michigan University, 2001.
Physical Description:
93 pages : portrait ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3552.U718 P46 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Poetry. The "lost book." "PENNSYLVANIA COLLECTION AGENCY, the ninth book from Michael Burkard, is comprised of poems written in 1986 but withheld from publication until now. This volume utilizes the unifying structure of a single year in the poetÝs life as an organizing principle. Burkard has been quietly accumulating one of the most fascinating verse biographies we have, and in this book we visit old territories in unexpectedly candid poems about alcoholism, beauty, and the poetÝs childhood. Burkard further emblazons the arc of theme and language that is beginning to coalesce into one of the most distinguishable formal and emotional landscapes in contemporary poetry" --David Dodd Lee.

Author Notes

MICHAEL BURKARD is the author of numerous collections of poetry, the most recent being Entire Dilemma (Sarabande, 1998), Unsleeping (Sarabande, 2001), and Envelope of Night: Selected and Uncollected Poems, 1966-1990. He has received a Whiting Writers' Award, the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and grants from the New York State Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. He currently teaches at Syracuse University.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Two new small-press titles rescue under- or unpublished work from well-known poets. Written over a decade ago but withheld from publication, Burkard's ninth book of poems is his second to arrive this year, his Unsleeping (Forecasts, Dec. 18, 2000) having just appeared in February. What emerges through these diaristic poems of the mid-'80s is a portrait of an alcoholic acquainted with violence but not quite on the road to recovery. We get glimpses of an unhappy childhood, of the internal compulsion to drink and of an adult who is both abandoned by loved ones and left to find consolation through poetry: "I ask the night to have a heart,/ a small word or two, a mouth/ to speak to you from and two lips to kiss you." The poems in this volume were mostly passed over when the selected Entire Dilemma (1998) was being assembled; that volume continues to represent Burkard at his best. A rolling repository of narrative incidentals, Nye's Mint Snowball, some of which was first published in 1991 as Mint, playfully documents Nye's chance encounters with friendly cab drivers, smalltown restaurateurs and fellow travelers from Texas to Nepal. The title, harkening back to her great-grandfather's recipe for shaved ice and mint syrup, points to the author's effort to retrieve the refreshing particulars of the everyday histories of common people: "Who are we now as opposed to all those earlier selves? I vow to find out. The life of poetry pins us to the minute. Do we fit?" Disjointed and sometimes cacophonous voices enter the fray, but Nye's own story as an American-born Palestinian locates the commonalities among the different groups of people that she writes about. Readers familiar with the economy of language that is characteristic of her previous seven collections of poetry may be disappointed by the limited lyric handiwork in this new book, but these 58 short narratives have a touching anecdotal quality perhaps more reflective of her technique as an author of children's books. (May 15) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved