Actual Air (Second Edition)

Actual Air (Second Edition)

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Author: David Berman

Publisher: Drag City (2019)

Edition of 1000

Released in paperback in 1999 by the now-defunct Open City, David Berman’s first (and only) book of poetry was and is a journey though shared and unreliable memory. Uncannily inspired, Berman’s poems walk through doors into rooms where where one might hear “I can’t remember being born / and no one else can either / even the doctor who I met years later / at a cocktail party” (from “Self-Portrait at 28”), or praise “the interval called hangover / a sadness not co-terminous with hopelessness” (from “Cassette Country”) and “that moment when you take off your sunglasses / after a long drive and realize it’s earlier / and lighter out than you had accounted for” (“The Charm of 5:30”). At that time, Berman was called a modern-day Wallace Stevens and a next-wave John Ashberry, with his own logic, awareness of pop culture and sensitivity to the details of the post-postmodern world in his poems. Alongside his lyrics to a half-dozen infamous Silver Jews records, Actual Air endeared Berman to lovers of poetry, prose, and music alike. Poet James Tate said it best: “It is a book for everyone.” And poet laureate Billy Collins could only add, “This is the voice I’ve waited so long to hear.” Features of the second edition are: new larger dimensions and enlarged typeface, new dust-jacket artwork variant, deluxe cloth boards, updated full-color endpapers, dust-jacket featuring a photo of the artist around the time of publication, and of course the poems that inspired all this fuss in the first place.