Tough Luck


Todd Boss (Author)

Overview | Formats

“[Todd Boss]’s poems generate their own rambunctious music and remind us ‘yes, / miracles happen.’ ”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

At the center of Tough Luck is a poem about the ill-fated I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis and its disastrous collapse, which killed 13 people and injured 145. The freighted, swiftly moving poems in Tough Luck crisscross the chasm between peril and safety as if between opposing riverbanks, revealing a frequently heart-stopping view of the muscled waters below. Marriage, family, home—all come crashing down, but Todd Boss rebuilds with his trademark musicality and “a reverent gusto for representing the tactile aspects of human life” (Tony Hoagland).

From “In the End a Gardener”:

is what we want in our corner
of paradise. Someone alert
to the slant of one hour
of afternoon sunlight or other,
who knows what to plant there,
knows what will thrive.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • June 2017
  • ISBN 978-0-393-60862-5
  • 5.8 × 8.6 in / 112 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverTough Luck: Poems


Endorsements & Reviews

“[W]idely regarded as one of the best poets of his generation. . . . [Boss] us[es] brilliant wordplay and portray[s] the people and landscape of his childhood in Wisconsin with clarity and hard-edged grace.” — Washington Post

“Bookended with poems about what persists and what crumbles . . . Boss's poems have a distinct—and satisfying—rhythm.” — Star Tribune

“Boss is a poet to watch, likely to prove one of the leading voices of the next decade. Readers may be drawn into this collection for the poems that touch on disaster and divorce, but they'll stay for the memorable verses on nature and memory.” — Library Journal, starred review

“It’s deeply satisfying to be swept into the music that scores Todd Boss’s third book, Tough Luck, to delight in the song of everyday speech refreshed and refined through sly rhyme. It is deeply transporting to be ferried across the river of his metaphors, to arrive at places logical yet magical. And it’s deeply delightful to walk in the world of Boss’s objects—a wall-mounted coffee grinder, an old farm sled, and unused Scrabble tiles ‘sitting there in their tray like dumbstruck parishioners.’ Tough Luck is funny and philosophical and wry and large-hearted, and it’s our great good luck to have it.” — Beth Ann Fennelly

“A latter-day avatar of no ideas but in things, Todd Boss charms, and sometimes instructs, and sometimes simply awes the reader with mouthfuls of language ‘like the clop of the walnut / block beneath the gavel of the // judge who fits the punishment / to the crime.’ Language and things, things of farm and town, of disaster and love and orange peels: he’s married them.” — Alicia Ostriker, author of The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog

Also by Todd Boss All

  1. Book CoverPitch: Poems


  2. Book CoverYellowrocket: Poems


All Subjects