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The Refugee Camp, Poems by John Drury
The historical sweep and formal variety of John Drury’s The Refugee Camp embodies the largeness of its story: a fractured view of Cold-War Germany from the perspective of an outsider American.
“John Drury’s long-awaited third full-length poetry collection, The Refugee Camp, resembles a John le Carré spy thriller remade into a riveting sequence of verse montages. Thanks to Drury’s eagle eye as an American undercover agent, his two long poems feature a vivid cast of outlanders nearly thirty years after the Holocaust, along with such local superstars as Dürer and Wagner, against the 3-D backdrop of a fabled Teutonic city. As a GI stationed in West Germany, Drury was himself an alien; as a poet, he subjects everyone abroad—including himself—to probing Nuremberg trials. This is a unique, important book.”—James Reiss
“I didn’t know John Drury in 1972, but happened to live in Germany that year, as he did, the year of the events of his ramifying The Refugee Camp which, by way of conscience and craft, came to form in him over the next thirty-five years. His vaguely Kafkaesque work in Nuremberg was to read dossiers, interview refugees, ease their displacements and humiliations ‘where, even if you have enough money, / you’re filth, and can never be cleansed.’ When the swelling undersong of this book is heard, as he becomes the Other and jeering German schoolchildren circle him and chant lager! lager! lager! lager!, he realizes that he belongs ‘among those who don’t belong.’ And then this fine poet lifts us into a dissonant aria of inclusion so passionate and authentic and earned that we are grateful even as we have to catch our collective breath.”—William Heyen
John Drury is the author of two previous full-length poetry collections, Burning the Aspern Papers and The Disappearing Town, both published by Miami University Press, as well as a chapbook of poems, The Stray Ghost (State Street Press). He has also written The Poetry Dictionary and Creating Poetry, both published by Writer’s Digest Books. His awards include a Pushcart Prize, two Ohio Arts Council grants, an Ingram Merrill Foundation fellowship, and the Bernard F. Conners Prize from The Paris Review. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Hudson Review, The New Republic, Poetry, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, Western Humanities Review, and other periodicals. He teaches at the University of Cincinnati.
ISBN: 978-1936370498, 80 pages, $18.00