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and Other Poems
Bristol Bay is the easternmost part of the Bering Sea and the site of the largest Salmon run in the world. It is also home to some of the highest tides and roughest water on the planet. In winter, ice storms freeze the riggings of fishing boats and the added weight of the ice, if not chipped off and thrown overboard, is sufficient to sink all but the largest of boats. The working conditions are brutal and the Bay itself as unforgiving as it is lovely. If it were a town, its name would be Deadwood or Tombstone, a place where life is measured in sunrises, not years. The title poem, “Bristol Bay,” is autobiographical. Much of what is described in the poem is true and not hyperbole or metaphor. The author worked two seasons on the 420 foot floating processor, the All Alaskan, now a partially submerged wreck outside of Kodiak, Alaska, and the poem speaks to that almost apocalyptic experience. The poems in this book are thematically aligned with the title poem in that they share a willingness to explore the potentially fatal, often unknown body of the individual. Homelessness, war, the blue collar work ethic, the love of all things opposed by the hatred of one thing—mothers and fathers—all of these become touchstones through which greater awareness may be experienced as a spiritual participation in building and sustaining human communities.
Jack Butler’s Broken Hallelujah: New and Selected Poems is a celebration that refuses to explain away pain and trouble, or to oversell the very transcendence it seeks. Its poems are always musical, whether formal, improvisational, or written according to the music of speech itself.
Butler understands poetry more nearly as the essence of that speech than as one of its products, the heart of the ways we know each other. Some of these forms are as old as English, but the voice stays immediate; and whether dark or hopeful, comic or sober, passionate or calm and knowing, these poems speak with the urgency of praise itself.
Whoever looks to a new book by James Dickey for further work in an established mode, or for mere novelty, is going to be disappointed. But those who seek instead a true widening of the horizons of meaning, coupled with a sure-handed mastery of the craft of poetry, will find this latest collection satisfying indeed.
Here is a man who matches superb gifts with a truly subtle imagination, into whose depths he is courageously traveling--pioneering--in exploratory penetrations into areas of life that are too often evaded or denied. "The Firebombing," "Slave Quarters," "The Fiend"--these poems, with the others that comprise the present volume, show a mature and original poet at his finest.Whoever looks to a new book by James Dickey for further work in an established mode, or for mere novelty, is going to be disappointed. But those who seek instead a true widening of the horizons of meaning, coupled with a sure-handed mastery of the craft of poetry, will find this latest collection satisfying indeed.
Here is a man who matches superb gifts with a truly subtle imagination, into whose depths he is courageously traveling--pioneering--in exploratory penetrations into areas of life that are too often evaded or denied. "The Firebombing," "Slave Quarters," "The Fiend"--these poems, with the others that comprise the present volume, show a mature and original poet at his finest.
The Journey of York
" Winner of the 35th Annual Lillian Smith Book Award, 2004 A BookSense 76 Spring 2004 Top 10 Poetry Book! Read an excerpt from the book Listen to Frank X Walker reading on NPR's ""This I Believe"" segment of Morning Edition. This collection of persona poems tells the story of the infamous Lewis & Clark expedition from the point of view of Clark's personal slave, York. The poems form a narrative of York's inner and outer journey, before, during and after the expedition--a journey from slavery to freedom, from the plantation to the great northwest, from servant to soul yearning to be free. Over the course of the saga and through the poems, we are treated to subtle and overt commentaries on literacy, slavery, native Americans, buffalo, the environment, and more. Though Buffalo Dance purposely references historic accounts and facts, it is fictionalized poetry, and Frank X Walker's rare blend of history and art breathes life into an important but overlooked historical figure. Frank X Walker is the author of Affrilachia and the soon to be released Black Box , two collections of poetry. He teaches in the department of English & Theatre and is the interim Director of the African/African American Studies Program at Eastern Kentucky University. He is also a visiting professor in Pan African Studies department at the University of Louisville. A 2004 recipient of the Lillian Smith Book Award, he lives in Lexington, KY. Click here for Frank Walker's website.
In her debut poetry collection, Kelly Davio invites the reader into a world where sin is virtue and virtue is vice, where the ominous lingers just beneath the surface, and the everyday is imbued with the fantastic. In these intelligent, compassionate, and harrowing poems, Davio gives a modern voice to metaphysical tradition.
Burnt Offering is Joan Metelerkamp's seventh colllection of poems. The title comes from a poem in a cycle that embodies the labours of the medieval alchemists - heating and burning, transformation of passionate intensity, the search for an enduring element. In the process malignant doubt is burnt off, and what takes its place is trust in the everyday: "take this day, here, take it all its clarity, all its gold" - Like all of Metelerkamp's work, these generous poems draw on and weave together, with her distinctive energy and passion, the details of family and rural life, dreams, landscapes and journeys.
But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise emerges at a time when science is discovering more and more about the mystical particles that make up our universe and our bodies. From tidal forces and prairie burns to ruminations on racial identity while standing at the foot of Mount Rushmore, these poems chart a travelogue through mental and physical landscapes and suggest that place, time, love, and bodies are all shifts in the "undulate cosmos." Straddling the lyrical and experimental, these poems conjure and connect the cosmological, the carnal, and the personal in a country—and a universe—that is gobbling itself into oblivion. But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise is in love with the universe of language—Its forms, its sounds, and even its static.