Ill Angels explores the breakdowns and joys, the rhythms and reveries, the cul-de-sacs and jubilees, of early midlife. In poems that are at once formally assured and daringly inventive, Dante Di Stefano invokes the lives of artists, musicians, and writers he admires as his poems ruminate on love, death, music, language, and notions of national belonging. Fountaining through this book you will find: Louis Armstrong, Gwendolyn Brooks, the Coen Brothers, John Coltrane, Phillip K. Dick, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Bob Dylan, Robert Frost, Guns N’ Roses, Hokusai, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Kobayashi Issa, Paul Klee, Dolly Parton, Pearl Jam, Prince, Rainer Maria Rilke, Gene Rodenberry, Sonny Rollins, A Tribe Called Quest, Derek Walcott, Phillis Wheatley, William Carlos Williams, the Wu-Tang Clan, Neil Young, Liu Xiabo, and many more. The poems in this volume range from nightlight to midnight moon to hospital hallway and back again. Written with a commitment to the hard-fought duende and earned communion of poetry, Ill Angels aims at delight, wisdom, and the endless sacred consolations available to us though words on a page and in the air.
Table of Contents 1 │Reading Dostoyevsky at Seventeen 2 │Reading Rilke in Early Autumn 3 │National Poetry Month, 2017 4 │National Anthem with Elegy and Talon 5 │Elegy with Drowned Sailor and Endless Horizon 6 │The Bronx Pyramid 7 │Stump Speech 8 │Kwansaba Suite from the Heaven of My Departed Poets 10│For My Creative Writing Students 11│Words for My Twelfth Grade English Class, After Reading Malcolm X’s “The Ballot or the Bullet” on Inauguration Day 2017 12│Reading a Single Line by Emily Dickinson on the Day My Father Died 13│Exodus 14│Dreaming of Hokusai at Sloan-Kettering 15│Einstein’s Sparrow 17│Solo 19│Fat Tuesday 20│While Listening to Coleman Hawkins’ “Picasso,” I Remember My Mother as a Young Woman and I Imagine My Wife in Her Old Age 22│The Mayfly’s Complaint to the Holy Family 23│Sometimes When I’m Listening to Thelonious Monk 24│Channeling Sonny Rollins 25│Anthem for Paisley Park 26│Outlaw Country 27│While Listening to Dolly Parton Sing “Lover’s Return,” I Imagine the Girl in You Talking to the Boy in Me 28│Louisiana Hayride Shivaree 29│While Listening to Bob Dylan’s “The Man in Me,” I Imagine Our Marriage a Montage in a Coen Brothers Film 30│ Brief Instructions for Drawing a Portrait of My Wife after the Most Violent Week in Recent U.S. History 31│Portrait of My Wife Listening to Nina Simone 32│Portrait of My Wife as a 90s Mixtape 34│Endless Duende 35│Brass Band Epithalamion 36│Channeling Satchmo 37│Love Poem Written While Listening to “Alligator Crawl” Repeatedly and Misremembering Lines from Kobayashi Issa 38│Epithalamion with References to Philip K. Dick, Paul Klee, and Gene Roddenberry 39│Brief Instructions for Drawing a Self-Portrait While Listening to John Coltrane 40│Dante 42│O Trampling Empire 43│Gerard Manley Hopkins Versus the Wu-Tang 44│Wear Black, Drink Water, Nourish a Fierce Zeal with Locusts and Wild Honey 45│I Am Your High School Love Poem Come Back 46│Reading William Carlos Williams in My Early Twenties 47│Reading William Carlos Williams in My Late Thirties 48│The Porcupine Climbing the Apple Tree 49│Wilding Orchards 50│American Pastoral with Warped Floorboards 51│Verrückt 52│The Greening of Harriet Tubman 53│And Why This Ridiculous Happiness? 54│Elegy for Liu Xiaobo 55│My Goddaughter Chews Happiness 56│Jubilate Pluto 57│Self-Portrait Illuminating the Initial ‘D’ 58│Preamble 59│The 45th 60│The Sorrowful Mysteries 61│Words for My Wife, After Reading Robert Frost’s “West-Running Brook” on Our Anniversary 62│Curriculum Vitae 63│Reading Gwendolyn Brooks to Tenth Graders 64│Sunny 65│Reading Langston Hughes to Our Unborn Child 66│Explaining A Love Supreme to My Unborn Daughter 67│Words for My Unborn Daughter Written After Removing a Briar Patch from My Front Yard and Beginning with a Misremembered Line from a David Ignatow Poem
- Pushcart Prize
- The Manchester Poetry Prize, The Manchester Writing School, Manchester Metropolitan University
- Special Issue Feature Award in Poetry