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Potscrubber Lullabies aren’t the kind that will put you to sleep. The poems in this first collection dance, dart, and double-cross, and are deadly serious the whole time. Preoccupied with impermanence and injustice, Eric McHenry wagers everything on the redemptive power of music, irony, and love. His language can be extraordinarily playful and self-aware—the double-negative “affirms / itself in no uncertain terms”; the census strains “the dead / from decade”; and a neighborhood blighted by Dutch Elm Disease learns that when “You take the elms from Elmhurst, you get hurt”. But the poems always remain rooted in the sentence-rhythms of spoken English—in plain speech and “the plain fact of song”.