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For Dust Thou Art

For Dust Thou Art

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Timothy Liu


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
80 pages, 6 x 9

Crab Orchard Series in Poetry


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About the Book

Running the gamut from traditional to radical forms, Timothy Liu’s sixth collection of poems, For Dust Thou Art, continues the trajectory of his previous books but extends his lyrical range. The centerpiece of the volume’s tripartite structure is a meditation on the events surrounding 9/11 and its aftermath. In his poems, Liu explores what a twenty-first century American “poetry of witness” might look like and protests the charge that the poetic generation to which Liu belongs is stymied by a kind of jaded amorality. Whether taking on public spectacle or contemplating the fallout of a private life, these meditations move forward and backward through time, seeking spiritual consolation within a material world.


Timothy Liu, an associate professor of English at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J., has published poems in numerous journals and is the author of five previous collections of poetry. Of Thee I Sing was selected as a 2004 Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly and a co-winner of the Georgia Contemporary Poetry Series Competition. Vox Angelica received the 1992 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. He is also the editor of Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry. Liu’s papers and journals are archived in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library.


“Timothy Liu is too often reduced to being a poet of sexual audacity. He is audacious, but perhaps in his baroque architecture, his fluency, his intricacy, and his unwillingness to reduce himself by dogma or theory or design. I love his growing, growling work, and his violent soft hints about the whole body politic in progressive zooms. Nothing is more learned than these fugues of ideas, these ‘racing thoughts.’ Moreover, because he is such a builder, some will be attracted to one window or one door and find single joys throughout. But the permanent, complicated delight is Liu’s poetry itself: uncontrollable melancholy and music.” —David Shapiro, author of A Burning Interior and Mondrian: Flowers