Before you read further, please consider visiting the home page of Wiseblood Books or amazon.com and purchasing a heavily discounted copy of Some Permanent Things Second Edition, Revised and Expanded. As I note below, until January 20th, 2019, neither I nor Wiseblood Books will make a penny on the book, so that we can offer it for a mere $5 ($10 on amazon.com, beginning tonight).
The first edition did well; we made our profit. That's not what this new edition is about; my sole concern is that there be an edition of this book that brings the poems to as complete and thorough a classical perfection as I can attain. I want you to have my best work. I want you to have my Christmas Preface to read and enjoy through this holy season. I want those aspects of the first edition that I can no longer approve to be, as it were, forgotten and redeemed by as many people in the world as possible having this new book whose achievement I am prepared to defend.
Now, as I was saying . . .
It has been an extraordinary autumn in my little life. Those who read First Things will know what is new in the Wilson home, but the purpose of this note is to make you aware of what is new in my work as a writer. A great deal.
My second full-length collection of poems has been published. The Hanging God features a Forward by Dana Gioia, and is available simply by clicking the book cover here. Glynn Young offers a terrific short review of the book, which you can read by clicking the sunlit tree to the right. As regular readers will already know, Young listed The Hanging God as the best book of poetry of 2018 in his annual "not" recommended list.
My first full-length collection, Some Permanent Things, has been received very well critically, but the workmanship of nearly every poem no longer met my standards and so, over the last year, I rewrote the entire book; reordered it into the original four poetic sequences in which the poems appeared; and added new poems to bring the final sequence, "The Christmas Preface" to a conclusion.
You can read the last poem from "The Christmas Preface" in America magazine. Click the magazine cover to read it.
If you enjoy that poem, I implore you to consider buying a copy of Some Permanent Things, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded, for your home, your family and your friends, this Christmas. The poems of Christmas reflection and devotion that conclude the volume are, I think, my best contribution to our literature.
In order to make this Second Edition as affordable as possible for every reader, including those who were so kind as to purchase the first edition, I have resigned all royalties for Some Permanent Things for the first month of its existence (until late January 2019), so that Wiseblood Books can offer the volume at the lowest possible cost. That is more than one-third off the normal discounted cover price (which is $16.50).
I am not interested in making money from this book; I am interested rather in seeing that readers possess my best, and only my best, work. Please consider adding Some Permanent Things, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded, to your library or giving it as a gift to help someone carol the season with the poems of "The Christmas Preface."
Finally, here are a few choice words from the reviews of the first edition:
These are tightly woven lines seeking to impart the complexity of experience, and its intensity, too. And behind the felt moment and perceived object is a desire for something more. -Mark Bauerlein, Contemporary Poetry Review
Some Permanent Things is the work of a man who does not scold, preach or sit high above his subjects or the reader. He tells, reports, identifies from ground view . . . Here is a prophetic cry for simply paying attention to what is. -Joe Hoover, S.J., America Magazine
James Matthew Wilson’s first full-length poetry collection explores how we might rediscover “permanent things” in a time of distraction, disruption, and disposability. His poems depict long-declining Rust Belt cities and cookie-cutter universities, but they also affirm much—love, family, beauty, faith, contemplation, friendship, sacrifice, the humble life well-lived. . . .Throughout this fine collection Wilson seeks to recover an ancient lesson of Athens, Jerusalem, and Rome, one so widely forgotten today that it has become countercultural—the need to discipline desire in order to find a truer freedom and a richer happiness in “permanent things,” the affordances that inherited forms can provide in that pursuit. -Steven Knepper, University Bookman
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