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WARD is a wonder, a consuming personality conjured through crisp imagery and deft humor. Poetic persona or alter-ego? Who cares? Ward is as real as a bruise, and as I read these poems, he stumbled into and through me.    —Matt Rasmussen


In the traditions of John Berryman’s Dream Songs and Weldon Kees’ portraits of Robinson, Ryan Vine brings us WARD, a tragi-comedic marvel of the lyric/narrative species. Vine’s character Ward has a unique, sardonic take on self-examination—nor does he spare others his laser-like critique. The poet unifies these poems of varying lengths and structures by making them muscularly musical. And the pacing is tight as a steel trap. Vine’s metaphors can startle and thrill, as when in “Good Ward Hunting” he brings Thomas Wyatt’s erotic images up to the minute in a figure of wounded love. Whether Ward is trapped in a cellphone’s “anti-light” or dismal workplace exchange, these poems make us feel for Vine’s vivid character and, by art’s alchemical extensions, for ourselves.    —Kathleen Winter

In this new chapbook, Ryan Vine charts a course through the enchanting, infuriating modes and mores that construct life in contemporary America: corporate consultation and short-order cooking, short-lived orgies and long-regretted decisions. Imaginative and fresh, WARD is a work of self-discovery.    —J. P. Grasser

2022 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist

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