Nebraska Center for Writers

Chimney Rock What the Critics Say
About Willliam Trowbridge


The Book of Kong
Copyright © 1986
by William Trowbridge
Iowa State University Press;
reprinted by Smallmouth Press

Trowbridge has something close to the ideal balance between counting the streaks of the tulip and being chiefly conversant about general truth. He is very much up on the peculiarities of our little time in the world. ... He is both funny and serious, seriously funny; probably the best, if not the only, way of dealing with the complex predicament. — Howard Nemerov

Copyright © 2003
by William Trowbridge
Southeast Missouri State UP

The Complete Book of Kong gathers the poetic wit, woe, and wisdom of both new and favorite Kong poems — from William Trowbridge's previous books, and from numerous literary magazines and anthologies — into a collection that will rattle your cage. Kong is hip and horrendous, always terribly in love with a small screaming blonde, and still bearing the biggest, brightest heart Hollywood has ever broken. Kong treads fortissimo where mortals fear to go and holds forth in these poems with the fresh, no-nonsense voice that makes Trowbridge one of poetry's most cutting-edge bards. — from the publisher

Everyone knows that Kong is one of the great American shows, but now he has grown even larger than the wide screen. The Kong poems placed together in one book affirm him as an authentic American icon. There is nothing like him anywhere else in the serious, sour world of poetry. — Paul Zimmer

Read these poems because they'll make you laugh, and while you're laughing you might notice you are learning something — for as Kong explores what it means to be inhuman, he shows us what it means to be human. &#`151; Beth Ann Fennelly

What could have been just a thinly clever idea ("Hey, what if King Kong joined a vaudeville act?") becomes, instead, a smart, funny mythology our our times. ... Ah, let us all be willing Fay Wrays in the large, loving, capable hands of William Trowbridge. — Albert Goldbarth

Copyright © 1989
by William Trowbridge
University of Arkansas Press

With this book, William Trowbridge shows himself to be one of our most accomplished comic poets — able to wield a sardonic, mythic humor that is the poetic equivalent to the great paintings of Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton. — Jonathan Holden

Enter Dark Stranger is a show, a carnival, a great state fair of a book that, while entertaining and delighting us, enlightens as well. William Trowbridge reminds us of the terribly serious uses to which comedy can be put, and of the near-limitless possibilities of the dramatic creation of character. This is a thoroughly captivating collection of poems — surely one of the very best to be published this year. — David Citino

... stunning first poetry collection. ... These poems are howlingly nasty and perfectly executed. . . . Trowbridge's weapons are a deep puzzlement of feeling and a wonderful ear; he knows how to divert with jokes while he's about to attack: "BLAM BLAM BLAM!" — San Francisco Chronicle

Copyright © 2000
by William Trowbridge
University of Arkansas Press

This collection of impressively well-wrought poems is one in which many readers wil recognize and better appreciate themselves and their lives. — Ray Olson, Booklist

Copyright © 1995
by William Trowbridge
University of Arkansas Press

Continuing in this third collection of poems to work in the realm of the seriocomic, Trowbridge explores other borderlands — between the tangible world and the intuitive one, between actuality and memory, between consciousness and unconsciousness, between self as flesh and blood and self as ghost.
This is fast-paced, nervy poetry whose witty, vernacular language moves surprisingly toward transcendence. — from the jacket

In O Paradise, William Trowbridge has added a new string to his full harp. Although he retains his beguiling and entertaining wit (who but Trowbridge would have the pig open the door and demand the wolf's search permit?), he now faces Old Mortality more squarely than before. There is a new and singular strain of melancholy, but it is a sadness countered by the wisdom and spirit of a mature, highly accomplished artist, creating a powerful new tension in his work. — Paul Zimmer

William Trowbridge can talk tough, in the tradition of fiction's best hard-boiled private-eye wisenheimers. And like those steelyjawed gumshoes, he can look at the tough sights unflinchingly: at, for instance the "brimstone-stinking forests" of World War II's atrocities, and at the dark side of our domestic confusions, "where everything . . . goes kerflooey." But, like the best of those detectives, he has a warm center, and the daily pleasures of small town life, of youthful romance, of family bonds, elicit a poignant wonderment. We have a lot of weird mysteries to solve, we human beings — and I'm glad William Trowbridge is on the case. — Albert Goldbarth
Copyright © 2014
by William Trowbridge
Red Hen Press

Plunging head first into the colorful waters of popular culture, William Trowbridge manages to find there are ways to reiterate some of the basic stuff of lyric poetry. His gathered poems combine pointed social criticism with just plain verbal fun. — Billy Collins

To call William Trowbridge a plain-spoken poet is accurate and one of his great virtues: he is unafraid of being understood. He is also a master of metaphor and, one never doubts the honesty of his poems, his voice. His poems speak, oh they speak! What he does is very hard to do and he does it brilliantly. — Thomas Lux
Copyright © 2011
by William Trowbridge
Red Hen Press

This book consists primarily of poems about a character based on the fool archetype, which appears not only in silents and standups (e.g. Keaton, Pryor, Woody Allen) but also in tales running back to the beginning of storytelling. To borrow from Yiddish comedy, he is a combination of schlemiel and schlimazel. The difference is that the schlemiel is a bungler who's always accidentally breaking things and spilling stuff on people and the schlimazel is a sad sack who's always getting his things broken and getting stuff spilled on him. My Fool is both. He is often treated harshly, which seems to come simply from his being a fool. Most fool figures, though “comic,” are subjected to a great deal of violence. The very term "slapstick" derives from this. — from the author

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The Rock

Nebraska Center for Writers