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Ideal Cities (National Poetry Series #148)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  74 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Exploring themes of pregnancy, motherhood, ancestry, and life in the borderline slums of Washington, DC, the richly felt and adroit poetry of Erika Meitner's Ideal Cities moves, mesmerizes, and delights. The work of an important emerging voice in contemporary American poetry—a winner of the 2009 National Poetry Series Prize as selected by Paul Guest—Ideal Cities gloriously ...more
Paperback, 86 pages
Published August 17th 2010 by Harper Perennial
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The concerns of motherhood and moving to a new town (and job), as well as some personal and family history, dominate Erika Meitner’s first collection. On surface, this is pretty standard stuff, but Meitner’s voice is a fresh one, taking everyday experiences and animating them with humor, worries, and sympathy. She approaches her various themes through a variety of forms, with narrative poems – which work best for her – predominating, since it allows her warm voice establish itself with the reade ...more
Erika Meitner’s narrative poems are edgy and in-your-face sassy. Strong word choices predominate. Their rhythm resonates long after I’ve closed the book, calling me back to re-read. Don’t be misled by seemingly ordinary topics as her writing is anything but ordinary. She writes to document, to honor, to remember. She often tempers the darker subjects with a dash of humor.

Many of these poems are long, and yet while reading, they don’t feel as though they should have ended on the page before. Meit
Jan 24, 2012 Liz rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Loved the first section of this book of poetry, "Rental Towns," in part because the poems flowed like Matthew Dickman's--taking these very real moments and turning them into captured moments full of poeticism, full of the beauty of the fleeting.

The second section took a more religious view and the poems seemed, to me, more forced, less grounded (overall) in the real. That being said, I only skipped one poem in this entire book and that poem was in the second section where I just couldn't root m
Ideal Cities by Erika Meitner, whom I interviewed in 2009, was published in 2010 by Harper Perennial as part of the National Poetry Series selected by Paul Guest. The collection is broken down into two sections: Rental Towns and Ideal Cities. Rental towns appears to be at first glance about the transient nature of apartment or rental living, but on a deeper level its about the transient nature of our lives and how quickly we all want to grow up and become adults. There zipping through memories a ...more
Sep 12, 2012 A. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
I really loved this collection. We read it for the store's poetry group and many of the poems really struck a chord with me. In the first half of the book the poems are often about being adrift in the world while in the second Meitner seems to be trying to claim a place as her own.

She's got humor, a variety of styles and engaging narratives working for her. My favorites were mostly towards the end of the book including Elegy with Construction Sounds, Water, Fish and Godspell.
One of my favorite new poets. I met Erika and she's just as lovely in person as she was when I interviewed her via GChat. These poems are complex, fluid, introspective, and fun.
Lovely poems filled with family and personal narratives, lots involving children and newborns. Sharp language, great attention to detail.
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Erika Meitner is the author of Inventory at the All-night Drugstore (Anhinga Press, 2003) and Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls (Anhinga Press, 2011). Her second collection, Ideal Cities, was a 2009 National Poetry Series winner, and was published in 2010 by Harper Perennial. Her latest book, Copia, was released by BOA Editions in September 2014. Her poems have appeared in Tin House, APR,V ...more
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