Kevin Stein has published eleven books of poetry, criticism, and anthology, including the essays of Poetry's Afterlife: Verse in the Digital Age. Among his poetry collections are Sufficiency of the Actual and American Ghost Roses. His work has garnered the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry, the Indiana Review Poetry Prize, the Devins Award, an NEA fellowship, and other distinctions. As teacher he has been named Bradley University's Faculty Member of the Year, and since 2003 he has served as Illinois Poet Laureate.
In this fresh poetry collection, Kevin Stein tussles with the current American moment’s skewed notions of social and aesthetic value. His gallery of subjects is bracingly contemporary, including Gold Star Mothers who’ve lost a child to war, nightshift factory workers, estranged veterans, guitarist Les Paul, one couple’s yard sale romance, a dog’s Valentine poem, and even riffs on toilet paper, Herodotus, congressional discord, and league bowlers. To each, Stein brings both empathy and an astute eye for cultural foibles. He maps his poetic province from this welter, grappling with Li Po’s quest for lyrical detachment as well as the counter urge for communal engagement. These poems—formally inventive and refreshingly accessible, at turns darkly humorous and trippingly caustic—pull no punches. They pose fundamental questions of self and art in the modern era.
“Playful and serious, a tour de force that covers expansive, intimate landscapes. Robust in scope and breadth, this collection doesn’t exchange any glancing blows; everything’s up front and grounded in a personal lyricism.”
“Intense, provocative, ever-so-timely—yet timeless—Kevin Stein’s Wrestling Li Po for the Remote melds dazzling specificity with philosophical expansiveness. The level of creativity, thoughtfulness, and craft in this brilliant, multifaceted book is astonishing and impossible to forget.”
Fifth Star Press