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We Don't Know Paperback – 2 Mar 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 76 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press (2 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555975526
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555975524
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 0.8 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,027,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Winner of the 2008 Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize for Poetry, Nick Lantz's poems introduce a startling new voice. Taking its title from a dodging statement from former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, "We Don't Know We Don't Know "assesses what

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By AR on 28 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
This is simply brilliant. Sparkling wit combined with an intelligence that transcends any self-involved 'I' you'd encounter in contemporary poetry. It's political satire as well as arguments on human nature.
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Format: Paperback
A consummate stylist, the content has a little ways to go to catch up (but I haven't had a sight of his second yet)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
An Unbelievably Good Book 3 April 2010
By John Michael Albert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I saw one of the poems from this book excerpted somewhere--The Writer's Almanac? Poem-a-Day? Poetry Daily?--and ordered the book on the quality of the writing. I had no idea I would get something so extraordinarily good. Here the poet take an array of excerpts from public statements by Donald Rumsfeld in high "the world is chaos and I'm the only one who knows why, you stupid bastards, so I get to do whatever I want" mode and counterbalances them with quotations from Pliny the Elder from a superb 17th English translation. From them, he writes these dazzling poems in modern poet mode: yes, the world is chaos, it doesn't make sense, but we all know it and accept it as part of being human. It doesn't make us feel superior. It doesn't make us drunk on power. It doesn't make us run out and attempt to impose an imaginary order on it. It makes us human. Merely human. Drunk, if on anything, on awe. This is one of the top five books of poetry I've read in the last two years, right beside Seth Abramson's The Suburban Ecstasies.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Will make readers think about why they see the world the way they do 16 Oct. 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A recent award winner and author of several other collections, "We Don't Know We Don't Know" is Nick Lantz's discussion of conscience, cognition, and how we perceive the world around us. "We Don't Know We Don't Know" is poetry that will make readers think about why they see the world the way they do. "Potemkin Village: Ars Poetica": Verisimiltude requires/a homeless man's feet/protruding from a dark/vestibule. Empty huts/will fool no one. If/I say do not look there,/you will look more closely, so I say, look,/for God's sake look./The men and women:/papier-mache flesh,/one bare bulb burning/in each ribcage. From this distance, light can/resemble life. See/how they wave to you.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The windows have no /Opinion 30 Sept. 2012
By Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso' - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Is Lantz's style, as it were, forging ahead of his content? His preferred mode seems to be the accretion of discrete pronouncements; I sense a grand vision, apprehended in fragments, 'through a glass, darkly'. The concluding sequence, "Of the last peeces..", is sumptuous, the Death by Drowning sequence nearly as good. The cover (Kapo Ng@A-Men Project) seems to do what's required, too; the whiteness feels right. Tasty

Death is the only
man-made object visible from space

Keep 'em coming, Nick
Clever but conventional 25 Jan. 2013
By Jon Corelis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A majority of poetry books coming out of the American academic creative writing establishment seem to fall into one of two categories. One comprises books in the now standard confessional mode, embodying a (usually disjointed and often obscure) narrative of coping with the more grievous and dysfunctional aspects of an individual life. A second, smaller category try to break from this pattern, but paradoxically, the method of breaking away usually has its own, hardly less rigid, rules: establish an overall framework dividing the work into 3 to 5 sections; find as a continual motif some allusions (often for instance quotes from types of writing sharply different from the book itself) to use as an ironic frame; and adopt a combination of standard reflective styles of poetic discourse with some contrasting innovate rhetorical forms; the whole decked out with the usual creative writing kit of verse gimmicks. The confessional element is often present to a greater or lesser extent also in this second category of books.

We Don't Know We Don't Know falls pretty clearly into the second category. The ironic frame is provided by quotes drawn from Pliny and Donald Rumsfeld (the latter I think an unfortunate choice --- who will remember him twenty years from now?); the sections are named after variations on Rumsfeld's notorious babble about "known-unknown-knowns"; conventional W. C. Williams-like stanzaic variable lines alternate with tighter quasi-syllabic lines, both mostly presenting reflective discourse but with other poems spicing things up a bit by employing less usual rhetorical strategies such as long catalogues beginning with the same phrase; and a subset of confessional material; all decked out with many workshop techniques like extra blank spaces within lines and line breaks which ought to have a gold star pasted on them.

In short, a conventionally unconventional (I know, I sound like Rumsfeld!) book of verse. Within these limits, it's not a bad book: the verse is lucid and sometimes very clever, the confessional material less operatically anguished than in many current poetry collections, and the verse gimmicks less prominent (though still employed enough to generate some irritation in at least one reader. So three stars, meaning if you like the sort of book I've described, I think you'll find this is one of the better ones of that sort.
Donald Rumsfeld meets Pliny the Elder 7 May 2014
By matthew stephens - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Nick Lantz is a very accessible poet, who makes use of a wide range of inspiration. This volume is organized around quotes from Donald Rumsfeld that could drive anyone crazy, and yet Lantz takes them and uses them to delve into deeper truths.
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