My Brother Is Getting Arrested Again celebrates the contradictions and quandaries of contemporary American life. These subversive, frequently self-mocking narrative poems are by turns funny and serious, book-smart and street-smart, lyrical and colloquial. Set in Philadelphia, Paris and New Jersey, the poems are at ease with sex happiness and sex trouble, girl-talk and grownup married life, genre parody and antiwar politics, family warfare and family love. Unsentimental but full of emotion, Daisy Fried's new collection, a finalist for the 2005 James Laughlin Prize, is unforgettable.
Lyrical, pertinent, compelling, Daisy Fried's new book is firmly centered in urban American life, a center the poet uses to contemplate nothing less than the contemporary human condition. No poem is less than specific, creating its own narrative implying much beyond its margins, yet each is self-contained in elegant structure. This is a book about political awakening in the largest sense, where wit convinces in the place of dogma.
Daisy Fried does the gum-cracking teen who dominated your last train ride with her cell phone, she does the desolate young women who have tried on lives and found they won't come off, she does the fortyish philosopher. She turns on her characters and on herself an objectivity at once brilliant and kind, shrewd and amused. Streetwise and unembarrassed and broken-hearted, her poems bring us a world so vivid and dense we would be glad for that gift alone: but then she lifts it for us, she makes it sing.
Fried is going to have one helluva career. She is precisely the kind of poet that dozens, if not hundreds, of other poets wish they were . . . Her second book is filled with poems startling in their vividness, their intelligence & their execution.
Fried's poems are filled with life. When they come up with prose even half as spiky and direct and anything like as free of convention and cliche as Fried's journalistic verse, I will be among the first to express my relief.
Fried's vivacious sophomore effort is a breath of pure oxygen for the serious, politically engaged, unpretentious free-verse storytelling so popular in American poetry a generation ago and in eclipse since. Winningly personal, the poems are nevertheless artful, with a light touch to balance their heavy subjects of social and racial injustice.
The satirical tone here is delicious and the social observation is shrewd.
Daisy Fried is one not to miss on the poetry scene. Her second collection is evocative and fresh, its poems the kind to provoke and embarras the elders. . . . Displays a voice so original and precise that one wants to read what she's reading and, of course, what she's writing. Her art has room to fly in the face of what's expected and acceptable.
Daisy Fried is the author of My Brother Is Getting Arrested Again, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and She Didn’t Mean to Do It, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. She has received Guggenheim, Hodder, and Pew Fellowships, a Pushcart Prize, and the Cohen Award from Ploughshares. Fried reviews poetry books for the New York Times, Poetry, and the Threepenny Review and was awarded Poetry magazine’s Editor’s Prize. She has taught creative writing at Bryn Mawr College and in Warren Wilson College’s low-residency MFA program. Fried lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.