Poetry. THE REDCOATS is a book of doubts. An elegy and celebration of those fragments of a specific American history always at risk of reduction to kitsch and irony. These poems attempt to manufacture a sense of identity from the contradictions of a self-consciously contemporary perception of these historical tropes, and the overwhelming sense of being ill-equipped to abide in those perceptions. Rather than applying a historical context to the contemporary, THE REDCOATS provides a contemporary context to the historic (in the manner, for example, of the painter Larry Rivers).This makes it perhaps a sad book, or a book with more dislocation than comfort, but with the ambition to find and occupy a space between, to at least temporarily balance the blind acceptance of a moral and nationalistic absolutism (which may also stand in here for a kind of New England spirituality) and a comic and ironic rejection of those mores in the face of contemporary life. THE REDCOATS recognizes a pressure to enjoy the spoils of our national mythology and the absurdity of anxiety in an age of easy antidote, modern medicine, and quotidian comfort. A history, however, not regarded with either pure rapture or dismissive disinterest but with an unsettling combination of both.
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Ryan Murphy is the author of MILLBROOK, THE REDCOATS, and DOWN WITH THE SHIP. He has received grants and awards from the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Chelsea Magazine, The Fund For Poetry, and The New York State Foundation for the Arts. He is an associate director of Four Way Books.Author City: MILLBROOK, NY USA