The Jack of Diamonds is a Hard Card to Play

by Paul Christensen

You know it's not the usual Texas of most books when you enter the saloon in the first poem and witness a deadly game of poker with a brown river as one of the chips in the pot. Here's a shopping mall turned suddenly into a biblical desert; birds that play jazz; a bull named Plato remembering the golden days in Periclean Greece; the two cousins who trained a pig to dance and re-enact the Italian Renaissance in a burlesque skit.


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About the Author

Paul Christensen is the author of seven books of poetry, several critical studies of the poets Charles Olson and Clayton Eshleman, memoirs about his life in Texas and in southern France, an edition of letters of Charles Olson and Edward Dahlberg, and two books about the craft of writing. He co-edited a book of ecological writing in Texas with Rick Bass. He has also published over two hundred essays on French culture (in France Today), Texas life and literature (in The Texas Observer and Southwest Review), national literature, and his own life and times (in The Antioch Review and other mags).

Short stories have appeared in The Madison Review, Agni, The Antioch Review and elsewhere. He was a NEA fellow in poetry, twice a Senior Fulbright lecturer (Austria and Norway), and for many years a teacher of creative writing and contemporary literature at Texas A&M University.