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David Keplinger

David Keplinger

David Keplinger is the author of The Rose Inside, which won the 1999 T.S. Eliot prize, The Clearing (New Issues), and The Prayers of Others (New Issues). His essays, translations, and poems have appeared in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, Gettysburg Review, AGNI, Virginia Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, The American Voice, and many other journals. He has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Academy of American Poets, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Katey Lehman Foundation. Keplinger teaches at American University in Washington, D.C.

Also by David Keplinger


The Clearing

The ClearingThe Clearing

$14.00 paper | 85 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-930974-51-7
Publication Date: April 2005
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A Green Rose Book

"Like a match struck in the dark, these stark uncompromising poems compress language to an essential flare of meaning in he face of the undeniable–the lyric impulse striking the hard flint of things."
        —Eleanor Wilner

“An enormous heart lies in these risk taking poems whose range, imagination and fresh language always seek precision and the more difficult confidence of a truth: ‘The house is a clearing for the human world.’ Both his ‘reconciliations with order and disorder’ are brilliant, and by that I mean those very poems.”
        —Mark Irwin

The Clearing is a distinctive collection of poems that seems to invent—before our eyes—a new metaphysics in poetry. Although the poet most often looks directly at the world, particularly the world of objective reality, he holds that gaze too long for polite company, so that some underbelly, some blue velvet version of things emerges. Like all truly original work, David Keplinger’s new book is not an easy, or even a comfortable read, and he demands much from the reader, especially in the face of startling self-indulgences that he somehow manages to make blossom into a raw knowing of our world that is ultimately seductive, and even wise.”
        —Bruce Weigl

"These poems enshrine the transcendental moment, but do so with a freshness of vision, by tracing its peripheries, by aiming for undiscovred magic in scenes that we'd normally overlook."
       —Chad Parmenter, Pleiades

Praise for The Rose Inside, Winner of the 1999 T.S. Eliot Prize

“[David Keplinger] is an exquisite translator of event and emotion—empathy is weighty here, and the light of a true tenderness is cast upon some of the twilights of the world . . . This is a wide book and a deep one, alive with marvelous composition and outcry. And yet, for all its zest of expression it is real life and real feeling that is most honored.”
       —Mary Oliver


Pig Slaughter

The house that held it
Still stinks of death. The hurdle
Worst to cross was killing.
The butcher with his butcher’s gun
Arrived and got himself acquainted
With the pig. The pig has knowledge,

Too; the pig is kind or cruel
Depending; it winces like a dog
Before it’s hit. The happy butcher
Slung it to the ladder standing upright
At the house, and from the neck
He sliced the dead, delicious skin.

Into a drum the life pumped.
He stirred the blood by hand. Someone
Cleaned the guts. Someone cooking barley
Stuffed it hard into the warm, blue tubes.
The rest is tenderness. The roasting of the pig
Is like no quiet I have known.