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Language and landscape come alive in this remarkably colorful story of immigrants in southern Colorado. Among them are Greeks, Italians, Mexicans, Scots. Their struggle to survive is personal, yet they are caught up in larger events of American history in the second decade of the twentieth century, leading to the defining moment of the Ludlow Massacre in April 1914. David Mason’s novel also steps back from the story, questioning whether we can know the truth about it, asking us why we want to know. Ultimately, in its charged and headlong verse, enriched by dialect and dream, Ludlow is about how we say the world, how we speak ourselves into being. Its characters, both fictional and historical figures, are intensely alive even as they are lost. Mason proves what the ancients knew—that verse remains a remarkable medium for the telling of the tale.
David Mason’s books of poems include The Buried Houses (winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize), The Country I Remember (winner of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award), and Arrivals. His verse novel, Ludlow, was published in 2007, and named best poetry book of the year by the Contemporary Poetry Review and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and it won the Colorado Book Award. Author of a collection of essays, The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry, Mason has also co-edited several textbooks and anthologies, including Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry, Rebel Angels: 25 Poets of the New Formalism, Twentieth Century American Poetry, and Twentieth Century American Poetics: Poets on the Art of Poetry. His poetry, prose and translations have appeared in such periodicals as The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Nation, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry, Agenda, Modern Poetry in Translation, The New Criterion, The Yale Review, The Hudson Review, The American Scholar, The Irish Times, and The Southern Review. He has also written the libretti for composer Lori Laitman’s opera of The Scarlet Letter and her oratorio, Vedem. He recently won the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Creativity in Motion Prize for the development of a new libretto.A former Fulbright Fellow to Greece, he lives near the Garden of the Gods in Colorado with his wife, Anne Lennox.
“Ludlow bowled me over with its dramatic power, kept me reading on, under its spell. This violent chapter in American labor history richly deserves a poem of epic size, and David Mason, outstanding poet and long-time resident of Colorado, is the man to deliver it. Unforgettably, its characters practically step off the page—immigrant hero Louis Tikas, mistreated waif Luisa Mole, and Too Tall MacIntosh, the man who must stoop to work in a mine. Here is a major poem bursting with life, a book with greatness written all over it.”
-X. J. Kennedy
“A true verse novel (real verse, real novel), David Mason’s Ludlow revisits one of the cruelest, bloodiest chapters in the history of American labor and state and corporate injustice: the Ludlow coal field massacre of 1914, in which eighteen men, women, and children of coal mining families were killed by the Colorado National Guard. Within a driving narrative that never loses momentum, Mason’s deftly drawn characters, both historical and fictional, take on the lineaments of Dorothea Lange’s photographs. With Ludlow, reminiscent in its political and dramatic power of Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle, Mason confirms his reputation as one of America’s finest poets and a master of narrative.”
-B. H. Fairchild
“Here is a chapter of our lives in cadences that will resonate with anyone who gives them a chance.”
-Ron Charles, Washington Post Book World
“I read it in two sittings, finishing the last 140 pages in about two hours. It actually is a page-turner.”
-Frank Wilson, Philadelphia Inquirer
“…a compelling story and a sustained act of poetic imagination.”
-Brighde Mullins, The Dark Horse
“David Mason has succeeded in restoring to poetry some of the territory lost over recent centuries to prose fiction.”
-Paul Lake, First Things
“Because this is a story more Americans should know and feel, I hope Mason’s book troubles a lot of readers.”
-Anne Hyde, La Tertulia
“His role in resurrecting the genre is his most distinguished achievement to date, and Ludlow is the peak of that achievement.”
-Andrew Frisardi, Contemporary Poetry Review
Situated on the main street of the historic Delaware Riverfront town of New Hope, Pennsylvania, Farley’s Bookshop and its knowledgeable, experienced staff have endeavored to satisfy the literary tastes of the area inhabitants for over fifty years. Whether you are Bucks County born-and-bred or just stopping by to enjoy the crisp river air and delightful scenery, you will be pleasantly surprised to find the largest and most diverse collection of books-in-print in Bucks County. Farley’s may have competition, but it has few peers. We encourage you to browse our website, but please remember that getting acquainted with our online persona is no substitute for exploring the narrow passageways and teeming shelves of our storefront and discovering that perfect book nestled amongst so many others.