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Fallen from a Chariot


Like the image of butterflies in Satyajit Ray's Distant Thunder, such grief in such abundance; such beauty in destruction. An elgiac poet of the highest order, Kevin Prufer draws the parallel between our own failures and the collapse of entire empires in graceful, eloquent lines. Here, too, the empire fails, falls: "my empire, like a blood drop into the grass." If any record of humanity survives our present disastrous course, let these memorable poems by among those artifacts.  —D. A. Powell

A richly conceived collection of poems that offers a completely astonishing display of language, narrative, and stanzaic and metrical variety — all brought to bear on the state of having fallen from a high place as it applies to the empires of machines, self, and memory; of ancient and contemporary Rome; and of ourselves. Acute and witty, heart-breaking and full of depth, Fallen from a Chariot places Prufer among a high order of poets indeed.  —Bloomsbury Review

Prufer has taken the elegy and made it new.  —The Notre Dame Review

Fallen from a Chariot is overflowing with such excellent ideas.  —Mid-American Review

Invigorating talent.  —The Georgia Review

Prufer is able to ingeniously combine creative and diverse images, settings, and ideas into a work that speaks in a new way to the very old and very human fear of and fascination with failure and deat.  —Verse on-line


Prufer's ability to negotiate darker truths without cynicism or despair is considerable and refreshing. Fallen from a Chariot features an unmistakable lyrical voice that offers a compelling new vision of history, myth, and contemporary spiritual anguish and redemption.   —Prairie Schooner

Out of their elegant surfaces, these poems illuminate the nature of precarious times.  —Speakeasy

Prufer leaves readers with a troubling look into a moment when what will be important about us, and our civilization, is their absence.  —Free Verse

The Sack of Rome might be taking place in Lower Manhattan, and Kevin Prufer applies the fall of that empire to the reader’s world. His subject is wreckage, whether of automobiles or urban life. When past and present conflate, the resonance is painful. Is it possible any longer to use the image of a burning city in a poem without calling up September 11? Exactness, rightness of image, phrase, word, and line inform the lyric voice at the heart of poems such as “Claudius Adrift,” where a protean contemporary speaker, shifting into the emperor’s voice, says, “And one by one, the windows / grinned into flame. The library swayed on its pillars, groaned / as the roof fell through into glitter and cloud. / / I have always loved the grand moment, / the great, abstracted / dying off, when the city collapses and trees blaze.” The book’s themes accrue, concluding with a stunning and image that unmistakably refers to the present: “People kept leaping out of windows. / / The air was full of businessmen, / their red ties streaming behind their necks.”     —Virginia Quarterly Review

...One of the most forceful, original, and strikingly urgent voices in contemporary American poetry.   —Chautauqua Literary Journal

Kevin Prufer is one of our finest young poets.  —Bloomsbury Review


Perhaps "some things are too sad to be made beautiful," but Fallen from a Chariot comes achingly close.  —Ohioana Quarterly



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