Getting to Philadelphia
Hanging Loose Press, 2019
Cover art by Leroy Johnson
Available summer 2019 from Small Press Distribution
I deeply love the poems of Thomas Devaney, and Getting To Philadelphia New and Selected Poems, is a book full of why. Every poem in this collection resonates with the subtle wit and insight emblematic of Devaney’s work. Not that who and what his poetry bears witness to is “subtle” but that his witnessing is. When I read these poems I live among the people they register and among the streets and buildings and occurrences that define his terrain. And the more I read the more I want to live among all that and the language that goes with it. As a perfect line in his poem OREGON AVE puts it: “Seriously, when you have a good spot, why move the car?”
O’Hara-esque all in his own way, Getting to Philadelphia is a bright thing, a high panegyric in honor of one of the world’s greatest cities, splayed heavily in his spirit, and thus his limbic language. Devaney knows its hidden histories and speakeasys, literary and graf artists, legendary corners, world eminences, but even more, its deep mysteries, which he sublimely cast as a sustained lyric meditation from poem to poem such that each glory-soaked line melodically reinscribes its magic as myth and song.