Checking Out: Poems
Hub City Press
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Published in 2010
Set in a small Southern town during the Reagan presidency, the poems in Tim Peeler's Checking Out form a narrative arc that follows the fortunes of a young motel desk clerk and his fellow empolyees. The motor lodge, once the eastern boundary of the town, now exists in a swirl of economic development. As a result, much of the action occurs in the ambiguous area where unstated traditions and social change collide. Idealistic and less than a year out of college, the young clerk encounters the best and worst of humanity.
Peeler establishes the psychological and physical setting of the story, then introduces the procession of colorful eccentrics who populate these pages. He lays out in detail the quirky nocturnal episodes, often violent or absurd, that eventually cause the clerk to "silently search for an escape." Finally, Peeler describes the haunted nature of the narrator's motel memories as he considers their place in his life 25 years later.
"Checking Out is tactile and spectral, caustic and loving, bulging with cosmic irony and tender fatalism, and Tim Peeler is utterly willing, in the stumble-down aftermath of a night of skullduggery, to place his black boot firmly on the reader's mortal throat." —Tim Earley, author of Boondoggle and The Spooking of the Mavens
"One never fails to feel the authenticity in Tim Peeler's sentences. He is a true Secretary of the Interior, whose poems provide a topographical map of the minefields, appetites, and orchards ever-present in the common human psyche. His capacity for compassion, affinity for the underdog and unerring descriptive precision make him one of poetry's most dependable performers. With Peeler at the front desk, this is a book you might want to check into and stay awhile." —Keith Flynn, author of The Book of Monsters and The Golden Ratio
"Very rarely, I will read a book of poetry and wish that I had written it. Tim Peeler's Checking Out takes that thought to a whole new stratospheric level. It is simply a tour de force, a collection of amazing characters and earthly situations caught by the pen of a master. A must-read if you care anything about fine writing." —Jim Chandler, author of Smoke and Thunder and Parallel Blues