Ray McManus’s third book of poetry, Punch., is a call for the claw-hammer, a hymn to the steel toe, and a series of lonely missives from truck cabs and office cubicles. Punch. is a book about work, about the will that rises and the dust that falls. It is about being “lost, hungry, and hopeless, creeping toward the pipelines in a '78 Buick Regal with Big Star on the radio.” Sometimes angry, sometimes darkly funny, these lean and muscular poems explore the world of punching in and punching out, the punch-drunk and the sucker-punched. Whether the poems are tightened by the rhythm of a hard hand, or the lines sprawl across the page with swagger, there is real music here. Brute voices, contemplative and haunting, speak to us with unwavering self-conflict and salty confidence. In these poems, life is a struggle and the end is already written, but there's something deeply moving about the resilience and resistance of these voices: “Lunch won't be here / for another hour,” one says, “so when the rain / comes, it is welcome.”
Found Anew: Poetry and Prose Inspired by the South Caroliniana Library Digital Collections
Found Anew is an anthology of new poetry and prose from writers with strong ties to the Palmetto State that creatively engages with historical photographs found in the digital collections of the University of South Carolina's South Caroliniana Library. In their eclectic approach to ekphrasis--textual response to the visual--editors R. Mac Jones and Ray McManus have recruited an impressive group of poets and fiction writers, including National Book Award-winning poets Terrance Hayes and Nikky Finney (who provides the foreword); their fellow South Carolina Academy of Authors honorees Gilbert Allen, John Lane, Bret Lott, George Singleton, and Marjory Wentworth; Lillian Smith Award-winner Pam Durban, and others.
These thirty-one pairings of archival images with original creative responses illustrate the breadth and richness of the diverse talents of South Carolina writers. While the digital collections are a much-valued resource for researchers and educators, Found Anew encourages a wider use as a source of inspiration for writers and artists inventing narratives set in and about South Carolina. In coupling the poems and short stories with the images that inspired them, the anthology shows writers gauging unlikely depths in curious photographs that other eyes might pass over without a second glance, conjuring perfect words for the emotion evoked by a particular image, and rendering and reimagining the visual in seemingly disparate but ultimately linked narratives. An instructive model for active, collaborative engagement between creative writers and culturally significant visual prompts, this collection also serves to demonstrate the accessibility and scope of archival photography available through South Caroliniana's digital collections. Through these creative responses, the images are not recovered or explained--but, rather, found anew.
Contributors: Gilbert Allen, Sam Amadon, Laurel Blossom, Darien Cavanaugh, Phebe Davidson, Pam Durban, Julia Eliot, Worthy Evans, Richard Garcia, Will Garland, Linda Lee Harper, Terrance Hayes, Thomas L. Johnson, R. Mac Jones, Julia Koets, John Lane, Brett Lott, Ed Madden, Jonathan Maricle, Terri McCord, Janna McMahan, Ray McManus, Susan Laughter Meyers, Mark Powell, Michele Reese, Mark Sibley-Jones, George Singleton, Charlene Spearen, Daniel Nathan Terry, Jillian Weise, Marjory Wentworth, William Wright