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Never forget where you come from, kid... so says the voice in the poet's head. And so it is that the poet drinks deep of that inexhaustible well, surveying the varied landscapes of inner and outer spaces. The rustbelt factories where one marks time while dreaming of other worlds, ear to the polishing stone that grinds away history, flints of flea market treasures. And amid the slow churn of decay and despair, to still hear America singing, fighting, surviving; daring, even, to hope for sparks that ignite the licorice hearts all across this fallen world, of a love that might save us all. "This…mehr

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Never forget where you come from, kid... so says the voice in the poet's head. And so it is that the poet drinks deep of that inexhaustible well, surveying the varied landscapes of inner and outer spaces. The rustbelt factories where one marks time while dreaming of other worlds, ear to the polishing stone that grinds away history, flints of flea market treasures. And amid the slow churn of decay and despair, to still hear America singing, fighting, surviving; daring, even, to hope for sparks that ignite the licorice hearts all across this fallen world, of a love that might save us all. "This is a book that both commends and eulogizes its rustbelt neighborhood, its Cleveland, its America- at the scrapyard, /men with meaty, tattooed arms/toss refrigerators and aluminum siding,/radiators and copper plumbing,/into ever-growing piles/of rustbelt dreams. These are poems eager to claim their small victories, while asking no one in particular for forgiveness of their transgressions-the birds of the heavens /build nests atop our industrial sins. These are poems that will call you out on your bullshit, then bring you home for Sunday supper. These are pages that honor Whitman and Plato, riverbeds and asphalt, patriotism and protest, love and death, and loyalty to books and friendship. I strain, looking/under streetlights,/see nothing but/drowsy suburbs,/pregnant with/all these love affairs/about to fail. These are poems to wrap an arm around, to cry into the chest of. This is a poet whose openness and hope will shove his own cynicism to the ground, then will reach down to help it back up."-Kerry Trautman, author of Unknowable Things and Irregulars "Everyone loves an underdog. In Licorice Heart, Miles Budimir shows us he's not afraid to dust knuckles with the bullies and cynics. The national conversation surrounding the poet's beloved Midwest has always been at least twice as toxic as any river in the region. He's not buying it. And you shouldn't either. A love letter to the rubble around the flower - a recipe for rendering the cheap cuts delicious - Licorice Heart is Budimir at his Rust Belt best. Buy this book."-Mike Santora, author of Sugarflood "In this collection, Miles Budimir, although known as a quintessential Cleveland poet in the tradition of Hart Crane and d.a.levy, shows he is much more. As a Northeast Ohio poet, a Midwest poet, an American poet, he observes life and place with the keen eye of an engineer, interprets it as a philosopher, and feels it like an artist. Miles acknowledges the dismal, picks out the beauty, and warns us like a prophet. Yet he never fails to remind us that hope is still there and all we need to do is act on it. These poems ring with Whitmanesque harmonies and bring us close to a full celebration of reality."-Steve Goldberg, author of History is an Afterthought