Grace Notes

In music, a grace note is an ornament, a very small, unessential part. In Eugene McNamara’s Grace Notes: New and Selected Poems, the grace is large and functional. The poet’s love of music (Part 1), history/literature (Part 2) and family (Part 3) are ultimately saving while his craft throughout is elegant, full of grace. The world needs this book!
— Claude Liman, Professor of English, Lakehead University
It was Northrop Frye who most memorably defined “lyric” in his great Anatomy as “overheard utterance,” when the poet has turned his back to the audience. In this exquisite collection, the poet Eugene McNamara brings tears, time after time, in such poems as “Four Last Songs” (after Richard Strauss). As with authentic poetry, these songs transcend description or explication. They have to be heard:
What was it I wanted to hear? Words that soothe crooned low over the small waves—
This is great poetry. Truth that is its own testimony.
— Jonathon Holden, Poet in Residence, Kansas State University

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