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In Memory of a Banyan Tree: Poems of the Outside World: 1985 to 2022
Three Wooden Trunks
The Country Where Everyone’s Name Is Fear: Selected Poems
The Cheap Seats  
  Scott Poole

ISBN 978-0-9668612-0-4     $12.95  /  $$15 (Canada)     5.5 x 8.5       

88 pp      
PUB DATE: Spring 1999      


In The Cheap Seats, Scott Poole creates an alternative universe out of the elements of our familiar one, but the stranger and more outrageous his world becomes, the more we recognize it as home. Is his art Cubist? Surrealist? Post-modern? It’s all of these and more, including doses of both Lewis Carroll and classic American deadpan comedy. There’s innocence here, and it’s always foxy. His style, while projecting playfulness, acts as a series of surgical strikes, that precise. By means of a powerful creative will and endless inventiveness, Poole characteristically directs language, perception, and imagination where they are not accustomed to go. He works to rinse with a concentrated astringent our interface with ourselves and our world. The subject of one poem is what he calls a “happiness lamp”; the truth is this book is such a lamp—you turn it on by reading it.

—Philip Dacey

Here is a funny poet, a very funny poet . . . but also a very serious one ‘who knows the power of everyday words.’ From “The Friend Who Went Crazy” to “Now That I’m Done” you will enjoy every poem, every word.

—Carlos Reyes

The Cheap Seats awakens us to the delightful power many of us have forgotten since childhood that we possess: the power of transforming prosaic objects and events into poetry . . . Poole’s imagination is of the heart; he shows us how to spread a quiet, wry, and genuinely humble wonderment over the field of our vision. I love the poems in The Cheap Seats . . . I feel sure that those of you who think that poetry is not for you will change your minds when you read this book . . .

—Pierre Delattre

I love The Cheap Seats. . . many poems tuned me up, threaded the wind’s needle, plied the multiple resonance simply, surprisingly, landed the mind and loosened the weight . . .

—James Grabill




From the cheap seats, those in the back of the house or the most distant reaches of the balcony, the view is different. What is missed in subtlety is made up for by the wider range of vision. From up high and far behind you can see more than the stage, and some of the more interesting moments take place in the margins. Not only do you see the sets, but you see them being built; not only do you see the stars, but you see the reflectors that give them light. In this first collection, Poole looks into the wings, noticing the story behind the story. His poems concern not his friend who goes crazy, but the reaction of those close to him. For him, the chimneys of a distant community look like cemetary stones, and they take his thoughts beyond the here and now. He doesn't have to know a New York woman to imagine one: "long hair/ they are always combing,/ thick hair that gets loose/ and crawls down the skyscraper." William Stafford said that poets see things in a slant way, from a corner of their eyes. From Poole's cheap seats, there's a lot more to see.

—Library Journal, June 1999