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The History Hotel (Paperback)

The History Hotel By Baron Wormser Cover Image
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Formally innovative poems that engage with history and the individual.

In his eleventh poetry collection, Baron Wormser offers the wide range of subjects and imaginative approaches that his readers have come to expect. Touching on topics such as the Jewish resistance, Godard films, and the National Football League, The History Hotel opens the door to both political and personal histories. This collection also introduces us to unforgettable characters—we follow alongside speakers as they drive through Kansas, as they memorize Shakespeare sonnets, and as they rehearse a love affair that went south.

As Wormser’s collection reminds us, the historical circumstances that touch, strengthen, or shatter a life are also key to understanding it. We all live in the History Hotel, where love, betrayal, hope, and despair go hand in hand. Showing those entangled hands is the work of these poems—poems that are alive to tradition but consistently inventive along the way.

About the Author

Baron Wormser is the author of twenty books including novels, a memoir, a book of short stories, and many books of poetry. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. From 2000 to 2005, he served as poet laureate of the state of Maine. He is the founder of the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching. He currently resides in Montpelier, Vermont.

Praise For…

The History Hotel carries a mixture of quiet humor and hard-nosed insight. There’s little decoration here, no fluff to deflect our attention from what we know that we know—just the energetic presence of Wormser’s consistently cool, keen sensibility that is both bewildered and wise. It’s easy to forget the good work words can do. Line by line, these poems resuscitate our weathered, better selves and the ability to see beyond the lurid surfaces that slowly but surely overwhelm our lives. If the current times offer us a steady stream of absurdities, if we intend to hold onto a sense of compassion while trying to make a sensible way through these days, The History Hotel has cleared a rough path for us.”
— Tim Seibles, author of 'Fast Animal' and 'One Turn Around the Sun'

“‘Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,’ wrote Shakespeare, and in The History Hotel Wormser does just that, beholding the world’s weariness with a thousand-yard stare and an eloquence that can spit nails or rain feathers. These all-too-aware poems have something sanguine to report: amid the soul-flattening wreckage of ‘greedy nations,’ somehow there is still amorous folly, chatter, longing, picnics in graveyards, childhood, and art. The History Hotel feels like poetry written at the event horizon of a black hole, in the stark light of a Hopper painting.”
— Diana Goetsch, author of 'This Body I Wore'

“Wormser is a master wizard of world poetry and his stories in The History Hotel will frighten and exhilarate you while serving their forbidden and diabolic fruit. Wormser is writing here beyond the best of his already celebrated powers established early in his career with the American classic The White Words. In these new poems, each one a multi-faceted diamond of irony, pathos, nostalgia, wit, and wisdom, Wormser is riotously and painfully funny as the world teeters on its axis and hurtles towards oblivion, observing in ‘Ode to the Stock Exchange’ ‘that the earth was the cash / machine of the universe awaiting travelers from / other galaxies in need of a loan.’ In his elegy for the great Polish poet Zagajewski—and reading Wormser we enter a landscape smoldering after bombing, or hurtling on its own blind volition—Wormser finds a way to acknowledge the positive side of the two-faced coin and contradiction of human action; ‘Thank you, you said to Life / and somewhat remarkably she thanked you back.’ In this glorious volume written at the tail end of a comet sweeping dangerously close to earth, Wormser is building a house for today's inclement weather, thanking life in line after line for the chance to comment on the follies of its self-deluded and failed human stewards.”
— Indran Amirthanayagam, author of 'Ten Thousand Steps Against the Tyrant'

Product Details
ISBN: 9781933880983
ISBN-10: 1933880988
Publisher: CavanKerry Press
Publication Date: February 13th, 2023
Pages: 80
Language: English

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