Vertebrae Rosaries: 50 Sonnets

Vertebrae Rosaries: 50 Sonnets

Philip Dacey
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Vertebrae Rosaries: 50 Sonnets is Philip Dacey's tenth full-length collection of poems.

I remember, thirtysome years ago, when Dacey first published a couple of poems in traditional forms, thinking, Phil, Phil, what are you doing? That’s how out of fashion the old forms had fallen. Before long, he had co-edited with David Jauss, Strong Measures: Contemporary American Poetry in Traditional Forms, which has proven one of the most popular and influential anthologies of the past three decades. And I can think of no living American poet who has mastered more forms from free verse to blank verse, from couplets to sonnets and beyond than Philip Dacey.
— Barton Sutter

Cover to Cover


She loves the times they read in bed together,

even the interruptions, a quote, a touch. The sound

of pages in motion, one passage after another.

She fiction, he history. Or poems, a bond.


Passion as prologue or epilogue, usually,

but this more intimate, the book a kind

of lover, who penetrates in such a way

that she opens all the more to him at her side.


Two lamps, and country night pressed close against

the skylight, a reader peering over a shoulder,

and the arrogantly illiterate stars for once

jealous, aware of the word but left out in the cold.


His left foot reads her right. The moment's ample,

their bookmarks sacred, fixtures in the temple.