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Dangerous Things To Please a Girl by Travis Cebula Now Available!

 Reading Travis Cebula’s engaging, dynamic new collection of poems Dangerous Things To Please a Girl, I am reminded of Michelle Naka Pierce speaking of intimacy across vast distances, the way language connects or longs, as here Travis Cebula’s travelogue poems stretch their tender tendrils out towards their listener, at once Angel, the addressee, and the reader, seeking a home, a location, a connection. As the book concludes, as we turn to the last page, we too keep on “turning. closer and closer” like the boy in this final poem—thus, in reading this book, we edge towards one another, and away, passengers in a life, a city. Cebula’s Paris is highly reminiscent of Frank O’Hara’s New York—a lively space to roam and reflect, to observe and to touch. Punctuated, like days, by grocery lists (often of the French clichés—picking up croissants or cheese and wine—) the original experiences of the speaker stand in stark contrast to the generic items purchased, accentuating a universal location of individuality in a world that often appears to have absorbed all our uniqueness in errand running, getting by or even global cosmopolitanism. The history of the city—literary and otherwise—serves as backdrop to this contemporary struggle to define and write the self, that self asking why it goes on going on, into the city, society, the weft and wane of existence, as the narrator—observing a pedestrian—asks of that other as much as of himself: “is it divine purpose or a madness older than trees, Angel, that prods this lone human to stride into traffic again”. A charming, delightful read, this collection of poems allows us to stroll with Cebula, to see his Paris while it invites us to reflect on the world through his eyes.

—Jennifer K. Dick, author of Circuits (2013)

A man wanders through Paris. A man wanders through Eliot. Eliot wanders through Paris. Paris wanders through the man. And, not surprisingly, it all comes out as a love letter. Though addressed to a missing person, these poems have no absence about them at all. Instead, built of the fine detail of daily life, they exude a vivid presence that coalesces into a richly nuanced sense of place, of place-as-lived. And it’s a good life. And an utterly delightful book.

—Cole Swensen, author of Stele (2012)

Travis Cebula’s collection Dangerous Things to Please a Girl contains intimate epistolary poems in which the speaker addresses his beloved during a stay in Paris. Reaching across and beyond this marvelous city, the collection reflects on a tourist’s solitude. Lines from TS Eliot’s oeuvre serve as titles for all the poems, reminding us that as readers we are part of a meditative experience—one intensified by the senses. Sensory snapshots—the smells, tastes, sounds, sights, and textures of Paris—create a feeling of familiarity that echoes the devotion of the speaker to his “Angel.” Choose a place at “cast iron tables / in the sun or in the shade.” Slide past Pigalle’s sex shops. Linger with global citizens from Armenia and Albania under Le Tour Eifel. Lunch with jeunes filles, backs pressed against the tombstones of Père Lachaise. Run vicariously through children on the wet granite slabs of the Pompidou to the sound of Edith Piaf’s voice. With Cebula, we move through Paris like Stein, Apollinaire, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway did before us—threading our way through the city of love and lights—“given lines / of poetry about bliss in alleys. / about how we kiss. the swift turns /up top. the swift turns, and drops.”

—Deborah Poe, author of the last will be stone, too (2013)

Here one reads about lowering the blinds and eating three peaches over a sink in the dark, on a hot summer afternoon. You will find such a treat, if you open this book: it is both excessive and essential, polite yet feral, a commanding, casual feast. What a tasty guide to Paris. I admire the closely observed interactions, weird ecosystems, shopping lists, moments of aching beauty, clashes of earthbound and aerial intelligences, and the light yet sure step of the lines. There is also much food for the soul.

—Jonathan Skinner, author of Birds of Tifft (2011)

TRAVIS CEBULA lives in Colorado with his lovely wife and trusty dogs, where he writes, edits, and teaches creative writing. He is the author of five full-length collections of poetry, four of which have been released by BlazeVOX Books—including Dangerous Things to Please a Girl. As such, he is most grateful for Geoffrey Gatza and the tremendous things Geoffrey does for the world of poetry.

In June you can find Travis teaching with the Left Bank Writers Retreat in Paris, France.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 164 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-186-3



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