Book by Angela Patten

In Praise of Usefulness

Wind Ridge Books, 2014

cover of In Praise of Usefulness

This book can be purchased
at Phoenix Books.

In Praise of Usefulness, Angela Patten’s third collection of poetry, finds the expatriate Irish poet once again poised between thoughts of Ireland, the country that engendered her love of language and literature, and America, the country that fostered her development as a woman and a poet. Far from taking a sentimental view of the past, however, these poems take an unflinching look at the challenges involved in relinquishing the sweet assurances of her childhood for the harsher realities of a responsible adult life. With characteristic irony and self-deprecating humor, Patten finds much to praise in everyday life from the ritual of morning coffee to the joys of a hot shower. “What could I do,” she asks, “but savor each incalculable drop?”

"Patten’s work is, in a manner of speaking, full of the devil. She is a poet who embraces the world and all its sins and foibles, but she’s also full of mischief, teasing (and enchanting) the reader with her surprises. Angela Patten is a champion of working people, in Ireland and in the States, a poet of the everyday ordinary world and the hardworking, honest and decent people who populate it."
—John Surowiecki, Flies, The Hat City after Men Stopped Wearing Hats and other books.

In Praise of Usefulness, Angela Patten’s third collection of poetry, meditates on the boundaries between childhood and adulthood and Ireland and America...”
Theodora Ziolkowski, Black Warrior Review

Two poems from In Praise of Usefulness: Lonely Planet and Learning by Rote

Listen to a podcast Interview with Angela Patten on Write the Book, a Burlington, Vermont podcast about writing.