Artemas & Ark:
the Ridge and Valley poems
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The Civil War in Baltimore
Jerry Wemple's subject in these poems, as the title of the collection might imply, is history. The history revealed in these poems is both the larger narrative of this country, and of black people brought to its shores, and the individual stories the author carries, ones that are ostensibly his own as well as those passed down within his family. The beauty of this collection is when these two histories intersect in a poem, as they do often throughout the book. In the case of the two lovers in the collection's title poem for instance, Wemple says: 'It's an old story; they weren't the first:/Temptation, risk, consequence. It's/An old game.' Wemple's poems achieve such an air of prophecy through a diction and syntax that is remarkably bare and direct. In this way, his poems crystallize a past that continues to define who we are and who we are yet to become, as individuals and as a nation."--Shara McCallum
You Can See It from Here
Selected by Pulitzer Prize-Winner Yusef Kumunyakaa as the winner of the 2000 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award
"In his first book, Jerry Wemple writes from that vast space on the map between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. This region of forests, coal mines, farms, and small towns can be as hard and silent as stone, yet in his departures and returnings, Wemple makes even its bars and bigots sing. I am glad for these sometimes troubled, sometimes joyful songs. And I won't soon forget what they've taught me about a place I once thought I knew."
— Julia Kasdorf
"Arriving on the scene with wisdom, subtle craft, cool surveillance and immense heart, You Can See It from Here introduces a new poet who shows all the signs of becoming an essential voice and necessary messenger, or perhaps a recording angel --one who's been in all the wars and measures our human ways with acute magnanimity." — Dara Wier
Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania
(co-edited with Marjorie Maddox)
“What the book reveals about the state of poetry is the extent to which poetry can still be direct and informative. Read this book from start to finish and you’ll have a better feel for Pennsylvania than from reading a guidebook or a history. . . . The book has a great index that lets you look up places’ names, so you can see if there’s a poem about somewhere you know.” —Frank Wilson, Philadelphia Inquirer
“Common Wealth sings the essence of Pennsylvania through contemporary poetry. Whether Pennsylvania is their point of origin or their destination, the featured poets ultimately find what matters: heritage, pride, work, inventiveness, struggle, faith, beauty and hope.” —Susquehanna Life Magazine
Keystone poets Marjorie Maddox and Jerry Wemple celebrate Pennsylvania with this wide range of new and veteran poets, including former state poet Samuel Hazo, National Book Award winner Gerald Stern, Pulitzer Prize winners Maxine Kumin, W. S. Merwin, and W. D. Snodgrass, and Reading-born master John Updike. The book’s 103 poets also include such noted authors as Diane Ackerman, Maggie Anderson, Jan Beatty, Robin Becker, Jim Daniels, Toi Derricotte, Gary Fincke, Harry Humes, Julia Kasdorf, Ed Ochester, Jay Parini, Len Roberts, Sonia Sanchez, Betsy Sholl, and Judith Vollmer.