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American Compass

American Compass

Bill Meissner

“Bill Meissner is unapologetically in love with America’s favorite pastime—dreaming. He writes with surprising generosity about the American psyche broken and made wise by all the old Chevies, baseball games, and heroes who perish young, by all the things that feed and fail and yet endure. Most of all, he understands the gestures of love, of enduring the small wounds of living. These fine poems deserve to be read and reread.” —Jonis Agee, author of Acts of Love on Indigo Road

American Compass negotiates a topography few poets can manage, which is to say that only occasionally does a writer chart with such conviction and accuracy the complex region of the human heart. I so admire the unadorned eloquence of these poems, and how the restraint of each manifests a kind of grandeur I find rare and utterly convincing. Bill Meissner is an American original, and this is his finest collection yet.” —Jack Driscoll, author of Lucky Man, Lucky Woman

“The legends of Bill Meissner’s boyhood and youth, those well-known American icons and everyday folk cast larger-than-life, lend a long-last note to the national chorus as this poet hears it. Wry and good-natured, these poems take us aside to talk to us the way an old family friend would, telling us what it all meant, what it all might mean.” —Heid Erdrich, author of Fishing for Myth

ISBN: 978-0-268-03481-8
86 pages
Publication Year: 2004

Bill Meissner is the author of three books of poetry and a collection of short stories. His writing has appeared in more than 150 journals, magazines, and anthologies. His numerous awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, five PEN/NEA Syndicated Fiction Awards, two Loft-McKnight Awards, and a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship. Meissner is the Director of Creative Writing at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

“Writing accessible poems that are evocative, often elegiac, yet which still retain a wry humor, Meissner charts the passage from adolescence to adulthood in a landscape marked by unrealized dreams.” — North Dakota Quarterly

“As a continuous journey, American Compass points readers in the right directions and does a good job leading them through the lives of a few classic American characters. . . . an overall uplifting and level-headed collection of American poems. This book belongs in the hands of anyone interested in the heart of this country, or anyone wanting to learn a little bit more about the lives of those who live there.” — The Corresponder

“These warmhearted, humorous poems comment wisely and well on our culture.” — Star Tribune

“From a poet with less heart, attention to detail, and quiet eloquence, such material might produce cliché. Meissner, however, infuses his dreams and recollections with grace, nuance, and surprise. Meissner creates poems in which the metaphors are artfully constructed but also satisfying and justified.” — Aethlon

“Meissner elegizes the American fifties: childhood, a traveling salesman father, baseball (Joe DiMaggio, sandlots, wiffle balls), pop culture (James Dean, Elvis). Meissner is a master at getting out of a poem, closing each poem with a satisfying exhale and click. Wow.” — North American Review

P01126

Road to Cosmos

The Faces of An American Town

Bill Meissner

P01272

Spirits in the Grass

Bill Meissner

P03294

Among Ruins

Robert Gibb

P03165

Times Beach

John Shoptaw

P03166

Furious Dusk

David Campos

American Compass

Bill Meissner

 American Compass
Cloth Edition
Paper Edition

“Bill Meissner is unapologetically in love with America’s favorite pastime—dreaming. He writes with surprising generosity about the American psyche broken and made wise by all the old Chevies, baseball games, and heroes who perish young, by all the things that feed and fail and yet endure. Most of all, he understands the gestures of love, of enduring the small wounds of living. These fine poems deserve to be read and reread.” —Jonis Agee, author of Acts of Love on Indigo Road

American Compass negotiates a topography few poets can manage, which is to say that only occasionally does a writer chart with such conviction and accuracy the complex region of the human heart. I so admire the unadorned eloquence of these poems, and how the restraint of each manifests a kind of grandeur I find rare and utterly convincing. Bill Meissner is an American original, and this is his finest collection yet.” —Jack Driscoll, author of Lucky Man, Lucky Woman

“The legends of Bill Meissner’s boyhood and youth, those well-known American icons and everyday folk cast larger-than-life, lend a long-last note to the national chorus as this poet hears it. Wry and good-natured, these poems take us aside to talk to us the way an old family friend would, telling us what it all meant, what it all might mean.” —Heid Erdrich, author of Fishing for Myth

ISBN: 978-0-268-03481-8

86 pages

“Writing accessible poems that are evocative, often elegiac, yet which still retain a wry humor, Meissner charts the passage from adolescence to adulthood in a landscape marked by unrealized dreams.” — North Dakota Quarterly

“As a continuous journey, American Compass points readers in the right directions and does a good job leading them through the lives of a few classic American characters. . . . an overall uplifting and level-headed collection of American poems. This book belongs in the hands of anyone interested in the heart of this country, or anyone wanting to learn a little bit more about the lives of those who live there.” — The Corresponder

“These warmhearted, humorous poems comment wisely and well on our culture.” — Star Tribune

“From a poet with less heart, attention to detail, and quiet eloquence, such material might produce cliché. Meissner, however, infuses his dreams and recollections with grace, nuance, and surprise. Meissner creates poems in which the metaphors are artfully constructed but also satisfying and justified.” — Aethlon

“Meissner elegizes the American fifties: childhood, a traveling salesman father, baseball (Joe DiMaggio, sandlots, wiffle balls), pop culture (James Dean, Elvis). Meissner is a master at getting out of a poem, closing each poem with a satisfying exhale and click. Wow.” — North American Review