The poems in Ann Curran’s Knitting the Andy Warhol Bridge flash with a quiet brilliance. An adroit wordsmith, Curran turns clever on its head; her poems can become deadly at the least provocation, not to mention funny, dark, illuminating, and often, heartbreakingly sad. Her poems celebrate life in all its sullied glory. No subject escapes her critical gaze:
weddings, sports stadiums, parolees sharing a moment, adoption, racism, war, rumors, love, death. Even the penis is fair game for her wit. These poems sparkle with specifics; they dig deep, nudge the reader toward tolerance. “The New Pastor” “urges the faithful/ to open their hearts to different people: the food co-op kid with rings in his nose,/ lips and eyebrows, the Latino next door,/ college students with raucous beer parties,/ even the half-black U.S. president./ Put down the iPod, the Wi-Fi-fed notebook. / See the live people. …Deal with the real.” This timely, remarkable collection deals with the real in a profound and brand new way. It is a considerable achievement and a terrific read.
—Alexis Rhone Fancher, poetry editor of Cultural Weekly, is author of State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, and How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen and other Heart Stab Poems
A poet’s muse can take many forms. Ann Curran finds inspiration in the personal stories and incidents of daily life. A journalism background informs her craft, but her stories would be hard to tell in a newspaper. It is her poetry that offers her the way to make sense of her world and ours. A native Pittsburgher, she finds much material locally, but, whatever the locale, her poetry is infused with humanity, wisdom, wit and grace.
—Reg Henry is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
See a sample version of this book, here.
In Knitting the Andy Warhol Bridge, poet Ann Curran takes you into Downtown Pittsburgh, looks at life—raging, whimpering, chuckling— at the bus stop, at the PNC/Y, along the three rivers where local knitters and crocheters decorated the bridge that commemorates Pittsburgh native Andy Warhol. That bridge leads to the North Side of town where the nation’s largest museum dedicated to a single artist attracts international visitors to ooh and aah, tap and punch at a roomful of inflated silver balloons and see shows that depict the brutal end of a routine southern picnic in the olden days —families, children to ancient grandmas, gather to watch a black man lynched. She’ll take you up the incline to Mount Washington, where her Irish immigrant grandparents landed in what they thought was luxury, where she’s lived for a couple of decades, blocks away from “the best urban view in the world.” Five minutes from Downtown, you’ll find deer and turkeys meandering through her yard. She’ll recall the G-20 visit to town, the steps to becoming a white racist or not. Music and religion seep into how she’s come to love her hometown and all the children and grandchildren of immigrants who, like her, still wave their other flag—in voice, in music, in food, in their very souls. You don’t have to be from Pittsburgh to enjoy the sounds and insights of this book. You just have to belong to the human race, diverse as the knitwork that dressed the Andy Warhol Bridge for a brief month one summer.
Ann Curran, president and CEO of Curran Ink, is author of Placement Test (Editor’s Choice, Main Street Rag) and Me First (Lummox Press). She has worked as a backroom bakery slave washing dirty pans and snitching icing, and as a conscientious journalist at the Pittsburgh Catholic and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A film reviewer of the love-to-hate school, she reported on new films and Pittsburgh Public Theater plays for the Market Square tabloid and covered the International Poetry Forum for the Pittsburgh Press, providing advance features and reviews of performances. She wrote features for half a dozen Pittsburgh Magazine editors. She also taught English at Duquesne University, her alma, as a graduate assistant, which placed her well below an adjunct professor. She learned grammar teaching remedial English at the Community College of Allegheny County, where she found her favorite, obscene example of passive voice written on a wall on her way to class to teach that chicken way of talking. For a couple of decades, she edited the prize-winning quarterly Carnegie Mellon Magazine at Carnegie Mellon University, while her boss, Don Hale, argued with assorted presidents about why they should not fire her. Otherwise, she plays tennis in four seasons, Shanghai Rum and 500 with cocoa bean fanatics, works out at the Y, does the laundry, sort of cooks, cleans the toilets and performs other poetic chores. Some how she managed to marry a kind, loving man—Ed Wintermantel. They raised the most thoughtful, sweetest daughter imaginable—Cristin Francis Curran Wintermantel. Ann sings at St. Mary of the Mount Church when the choir is in active voice and serves on the Parish Pastoral Council.
See a sample of Knitting the Andy Warhol Bridge here.
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