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Knives on a Table

ByPeter Mladinic

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“I have been an admirer of Peter Mladinic’s poetry for forty years. The narrative elements appeal to me, and many of these poems are inherently dramatic. But what excites me even more is his beguiling language and imagery, the unpredictable nature of his fertile, mysterious imagination. This rich collection represents a first-rate poet at his absolute best. What a beautiful book.” — Steve Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World, winner of the 2019 Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction. “The title says it all. This is a book of poems by a poet who is a skilled storyteller, but where the poet takes us in the poetry of this book is not necessarily where we expected to go. Knives and tables are commonplace facts of daily life and Mladinic takes us into the lives of ordinary people who become extraordinary in moments and happenings. Just as knives on a table are rife with metaphor and edgy multi-connotations, so too are the narratives Mladnic has crafted into the fine poems of this substantial volume.” — Glen Sorestad, Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan 2000-2004, and author of over twenty volumes of poetry. “In this richly varied collection, Peter Mladinic’s myriad voices reveal his extraordinary gift for lyric storytelling. The speakers in his fresh and unexpected dramatic monologues populate a universe of recognizably American experience, telling of joys and horrors, childhood memories, murders committed, lovers desired and lost, lives fractured, heartbreak endured and survived (or not). An always believable surrealism of the everyday sometimes takes us into the dream life of families, births and deaths, moments full of illumination and love, sorrow and exhilaration. Mladinic’s poems are all about the inescapable reality of others whom he fully imagines in all their unforgettable poignance and irrepressible vitality. His disciplined, energetic, highly pressured free verse and brilliant attention to local detail celebrate life — its tragedy, its comedy, its romance and abundance — all the while taking into account, with the deepest compassion, the relentless passage of time.” — Elizabeth Frank, Pulitzer Prize winner in 1986 for her biography Louise Bogan: A Portrait.


Publication Date
Aug 10, 2021
All Rights Reserved - Standard Copyright License
By (author): Peter Mladinic


Perfect Bound
Interior Color
Black & White
US Trade (6 x 9 in / 152 x 229 mm)

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