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How We Spent Our Time

Vern Rutsala

84 pages
University of Akron Press
Nearly every poem in How We Spent Our Time flies at its mast a title in the form of a gerund or gerund phrase, that humble verbal noun. The book's table of contents, therefore, reads like an equally humble enumeration of the ways a human lifetime can be paid out, so to speak: looking, getting, owning, learning. We all do them all. And yet there is exceptional artistry in the testimonials these doings make witness to. The arrangement of the poems within the text is part of it. Note how keeping immediately precedes spending, in the poems Keeping It Together and Spending the Night; these poems are conversational but endlessly skilful in the ways they keep the language vivid and fresh and surprising. How We Spent Our Time is flush with pangs and satisfactions, abundant with wisdom and delight.
Author Bio
A distinguished poet, Vern Rutsala was born February 5, 1934, in McCall, Idaho. Aside from time spent in Europe and the Midwest, Rutsala has lived in Oregon most of his life. He is the author of numerous poetry books. Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a Masters Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Carolyn Kizer Poetry Prize, and the Northwest Poets Prize. Rutsala taught at Lewis & Clark College from 1961-2004.