John Blair’s work has appeared in literary journals such as Poetry, New York Quarterly, Sewanee Review, Antioch Review, and New Letters. His poetry collection The Green Girls won the 2003 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize, and his short story collection American Standard was awarded the 2002 Drue-Heinz Literature Prize. Blair is a professor of American literature and directs the undergraduate creative writing program at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.
Playful Song Called Beautiful ranges far into the intersections of faith and scientific thought, places where “there is no stranger who is / stranger than you, no / familiar who’s more / familiar.” In poems that are either formally rhymed and metered or written in syllabically structured three-line stanzas, Blair wanders among universal orders and failures of desire, where the unlikeliness of any of us being who we are, what we are, where we are forces us to consider—and reconsider—the possibilities of belief and meaning. Blair’s poems are elegant and earthy, sometimes profane, and sometimes lovingly playful.
“John Blair is one of those poets who can do almost anything with a line: make it hum, make it fly—‘to fill the space where wings once sung in you.’ Playful Song Called Beautiful presents musings on mortality that’ll make you glad to be alive.”
“In these poems, a foodie banquet of delicious, exotic, risky platters of language glides before us. The dark and grit of a Baudelaire becomes the elegance of a Yeats, or the logic of an Auden gives way to the effervescent mysteries of a Rimbaud. In these wonderful meditations upon the world’s uncertainties, we’re thrilled by the dangerous, delightful turns.”
“Rife with juicy epigraphs, gleeful alliteration, and dynamic enjambment, John Blair’s latest book feels like philosophy filtered through wit and joy. Who could have imagined that insouciance and insight, though they share a prefix, could seem so akin, but here comes Playful Song Called Beautiful as proof.”
University of Iowa Press