Billboard Empire: Poems of Philadelphia
This is Ernest Yates’s tenth volume of poems and the seventh volume in an ongoing series based on his wanderings through the streets of Philadelphia. In this volume, Yates views the city as a world of found words—words that act as messages of desire. Billboard ads epitomize that world, but the city, as a place made by humans for the purpose of human habitation, projects our human desires through all words, even the most ordinary and common, that refer to the city. Conceived in this way, Philadelphia, like every city, veers toward dreamscape, where words enact the dramatic relationship between impersonal urban phenomena and the very human desires of citizens.