Magical Thinking


Joseph Duemer

“The poems are so rich with intelligent thought that their lively, lyrical surfaces might seem anomalous in a lesser poet. This is very assured and accomplished work.” —William Matthews

“Each of the poems is an interesting and difficult project, synthesizing unlike strands or making an intellectual question a poetic experience.” —Sandra McPherson

“The poems reveal an artistic maturity that comes only to those poets willing and able to assume a public voice in their poetry.” —Bruce Weigl

Psychologists characterize thinking as a form of thought in which wishes and desires shape the reality we perceive. Such thinking is usually dismissed as delusional. But most human beings think “magically” most of the time and have done so throughout history. It is the kind of thinking that has produced cathedrals and symphonies, depravity and genocide. Joseph Duemer’s poems attempt to shape his “magical thinking” into understandable forms. His poetry is an argument with science and religion, which seek to establish themselves as systems that organize experience into stable meanings.

Joseph Duemer is Associate Professor of Humanities in the School of Liberal Arts, Clarkson University. His books include Fool’s Paradise and The Light of Common Day.

Oct 2001
75 pp. 6 x 9

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The Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award in Poetry

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