Poetry. In his first full-length collection in ten years, Eric McHenry brings fresh attention to his old obsessions--love, laughter, justice, transience, how humility ennobles, how time makes the familiar strange and how our scars make us beautiful. McHenry can dazzle with his technical dexterity, but his poems aren't merely performances; in ODD EVENING, music creates meaning and vice versa. If books of poetry have patron saints, Buster Keaton might be this one's: a stoic, stone-faced everyperson who's endlessly resourceful in the face of calamity.
"Eric McHenry's poems are hilarious, dark, tender, and formal. But he's a formalist interested in the language of now and in the world we currently inhabit. And that turns his rhymes and meters into rock n roll. I love this book."--Sherman Alexie
"To say that Eric McHenry is one of the best--and most delightful, most alive--poets of my generation isn't enough praise. His native sense of music in English, his tonal variation, and his generosity of spirit are extraordinary. McHenry can be playful and at the same time ecstatic and practical ('I started saying whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. / I didn't drop what I was holding, though'). His play is movingly traditional, yes, but also utterly modern. For this is a poet who sets today's uncertainties and dualities to gorgeous music." --Ilya Kaminsky
"At their brilliant outer limits, poetic form and ethical vision are indistinguishable, as Eric McHenry's masterful poems remind us. The unforgiving injunctions of rhyme and end-stopped line refuse to euphemize, and so are particularly good at conveying the unforgiving declensions of age and envy, physical abjection, personal and institutional indifference. And, of course, poetic form this sharply rendered is also an unparalleled instrument for satire: the only bow to wickedness in these pages is wicked fun. Eric McHenry sounds like no other poet working in America today. I thank our lucky stars for his white-hot independence." --Linda Gregerson
"McHenry is the current poet laureate of Kansas and a working knowledge of Topeka can assist interpretation of some of these pieces, but inaccessible they are not. The rhythms...can be very hard to get out of your head, so you find yourself re-reading with the book closed--like it or not but you will!...McHenry is a poet to keep an eye on." --Philip Morre