Work & Days
Released in September, 2010, Works & Days, has garnered unusual critical attention for a first book. Known for his book reviews and op-ed pieces as well as for his scholarly work in the areas of American Indian studies and visual and popular culture, Dean Rader has produced a debut collection that is an ambitious and funny series of poems that judge Claudia Keelan has described as "a primer for MFA programs everywhere." Divided into three sections--"Works," "&," and "Days"--Rader's poems map the intersecting roads of the personal and the cultural. The first section, "Works," contains poems about works that shape how the author sees the world, like the poetry of Wallace Stevens, popular music, the art of Robert Motherwell, the mysteries of Havana, Hesiod's ruminations on duty and the divine, and Frog and Toad. "&" is a more playful experimental section that connects the themes of "Works" (poems about Michael Jackson, pumpkins, Dorothea Lange, and Frog and Toad) with the autobiographical final section. "Days" begins with the poet's 30th birthday and marks each subsequent birthday until his 41st, which loops back to the path of "Works" with a final closing poem inspired by the Estonian composer Arvo Part (and, of course, Frog and Toad).
Truman State University Press
Rader, Dean, "Work & Days" (2010). READ Book Gallery. 60.