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Exit, pursued by a bear: poems inspired by Shakespeare's stage directions by Joseph Mills

Press 53
$14.95, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-941209-36-3
April, 2016
Poetry
Available from your local bookstore or www.Amazon.com

"What an inspired collection! The lines between reality and the stage, between life and art, between past and present—they're all blurred into an exciting whirligig of poetry based on Shakespeare's stage directions. You don't have to be a Shakespeare nut to fall in love with this collection."
—Robert Lee Brewer, author Solving the World’s Problems and editor of Poet’s Market

The clock striketh

If exiting you feel the same
as when you entered,

go to the box office
and demand a refund,

run backstage
to where the actors are
removing makeup,
and stand in the doorway,
an accusatory ghost,

keep the ticket stub,
so you can explain
your account is unbalanced,
you’re owed those hours

because that’s the contract—
part of your life in return
for being changed
somehow—

and maybe Death will listen,
after all he too was there,
as he is at every performance,
in the back, taking notes,
attentive,
hopeful.

A professor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Joseph Mills holds an endowed chair, the Susan Burress Wall Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities. He has published sixth collections of poetry with Press 53. His book This Miraculous Turning was awarded the 2015 Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry, and his collection Angels, Thieves, and Winemakers was called “a must have for wine lovers” by the Washington Post. His poetry has been featured several times on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac and in former U.S. poet laureate Ted Kooser's nationally syndicated newspaper column “American Life in Poetry.” In addition to his volumes of poetry, he has researched and written two editions of A Guide to North Carolina’s Wineries with his wife, Danielle Tarmey. He also has edited a collection of film criticism A Century of the Marx Brothers. He has degrees in literature from the University of Chicago, the University of New Mexico, and the University of California, Davis.

 
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