The Upper Peninsula Misses You

About the Book:

The Upper Peninsula Misses You is a book of poems that tells an unpitying family tale with brutal sympathy—a narrative that is fractured by semi-historical acts or section breaks. While it is very much writing of place, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the broken landscapes and languishing families can be found all across America.

Not unlike some of the best writers of setting—including Willa Cather, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Cormac McCarthy, and maybe the closest comparison, Michigan poet Philip Levine—Mark Magoon understands how setting affects character, success, and failure. In The Upper Peninsula Misses You, Magoon shows how sometimes circumstances both self-created and beyond our control militate against our having what we most desire. He captures this strain between people and their times and places in language that is beautiful but not needlessly showy, and in a tone that is un-pitying, and maybe more importantly un-self-pitying. He picks his targets and writes into the heart of them with brutal sympathy. —Kathleen Rooney, author of O, Democracy!

Mark Magoon’s The Upper Peninsula Misses You evokes the specific geology of the land he writes about: the slow passage of time and glaciation, the ever-present mines, and the inescapable relationship of people to the natural world. I was an avid reader of Magoon’s work before I knew of his connection to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and as both of my parents grew up in the U.P., it was with great anticipation that I opened this book. And all of that anticipation was answered. Not only did Magoon’s poems show me my own Upper Peninsula in an unexpected light, they also gave me a brand new Upper Peninsula to consider. The first line of the first poem starts the reader off with the idea that “a beginning is never too small,” and for me, that single line encapsulates a work that begins with a place and a narrative, a work that transforms the personal to the universal and back again through many iterations. —Jennifer Finstrom, Poetry Editor, Eclectica Magazine