PRAISE FOR A VERTICAL MILE:
Deeply rooted in the human history and natural order of his native state, Richard Wakefield’s A Vertical Mile depicts life in rural Washington—people, animals, plants, geological formations, the weather and the seasons. Building on his powerful and impressive first collection East of Early Winters, Wakefield, in A Vertical Mile, has now firmly established himself as one of America’s foremost formal poets. In their memorable presentation by way of deftly employed narrative, meter, rhyme, metaphor, symbol, and diction, the poems in this new collection, once read, cannot be easily dislodged from the mind. That, in itself, is evidence that Wakefield’s best poems are a permanent addition to American letters.
– David Middleton
Richard Wakefield crafts his verse to exacting standards yet keeps it uncontrived. Throughout A Vertical Mile, Wakefield shows us much about ourselves and the various worlds we inhabit, often of our own making. What he reveals may be sobering or amusing, uplifting or distressing. But, carried by a voice as versatile as the intelligence behind it, it is sure to surprise and delight us as well.
– David Sanders (from the “Foreword”)
Richard Wakefield writes with a rare metrical skill that calls to mind the poetry of Robert Frost, and like Frost he tells intricate and compelling stories about ordinary people living close to the land. But there’s nothing nostalgic here. There’s compassion, and decency, but never an easy answer. Wakefield’s choice of conventional form is a wry and subtle comment on the contemporary moment, and his mastery of that form raises his work above all the chaos and fads. No, these poems are not nostalgic. They are timeless.
– Chris Anderson
The arc of discovery is what one traverses in Richard Wakefield’s poetry. It may be a remembered seascape made new by the dust of familial ashes or a lost town, covered by a century of a forest’s reclaiming growth. As a poet of the outdoors—one who sees and, seeing, makes new what he has seen—Wakefield is unsurpassed.
– R.S. Gwynn
Richard Wakefield, born in Renton, Washington, in 1952, earned his Ph.D. in American Literature at the University of Washington-Seattle with a dissertation on the poetry of Robert Frost. For nearly thirty years he has taught literature and composition at Tacoma Community College and the University of Washington-Tacoma. For over twenty-five years he has been a reviewer of fiction, literature, biography, and literary criticism for the Seattle Times. His poetry collection, East of Early Winters (University of Evansville Press, 2006), received the Richard Wilbur Award. His poem “Petrarch” won the 2010 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. He and his wife, Catherine, have been married thirty-nine years and have two grown daughters.
PRAISE FOR THIS BED OUR BODIES SHAPED:
April Lindner’s This Bed Our Bodies Shaped is a beautifully intimate and domestic book about the culture of family—what we bring to each other, boldly or tentatively, and what can never be known. Lindner pauses at the imprints we leave, what is buried under sand and snow, what returns to us again and again. Her poems are tender and fierce, startling in their excavations.
– Denise Duhamel
April Lindner’s sublimely intelligent and compassionate poems make This Bed Our Bodies Shaped the kind of book that becomes your friend on a bedside table. Here is a poet you can always trust. She never sacrifices complex layers of emotion for a simple treatise. This slender volume follows the pilgrim’s progress of girl into woman into lover into mother into maturity, in poems that both mark those thresholds and illuminate them with the brilliant specifics of a lived life. And the poet accomplishes all of this with the precision of a practiced harpist on the huge gold instrument of craft. April Lindner’s poems work with a muscular silkiness. Reading them is like discerning a bicep through a transparent sleeve.
– Molly Peacock
There are beautiful collisions in these poems, collisions between vulnerability and unflinching looks at our human condition, its truths and contradictions. There is an earned strength here and this book’s amplitude is heightened by terrific formal control (she knows her craft) and wild music.
– Thomas Lux
All the pleasures and pains of domestic life, of marriage and parenthood, love and loss, dailiness and major rites of passage, find their textures and music in the poems of April Lindner’s new collection. Her subtle mastery demonstrates again and again that the body itself creates the form of the poem, as surely as the bodies of the lovers shape their bed. The craft of these beautifully made verses is both seamless and palpable.
– Mark Jarman
—from “WHEREAS Statements”
WHEREAS confronts the coercive language of the United States government in its responses, treaties, and apologies to Native American peoples and tribes, and reflects that language in its officiousness and duplicity back on its perpetrators. Through a virtuosic array of short lyrics, prose poems, longer narrative sequences, resolutions, and disclaimers, Layli Long Soldier has created a brilliantly innovative text to examine histories, landscapes, her own writing, and her predicament inside national affiliations. “I am,” she writes, “a citizen of the United States and an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, meaning I am a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation—and in this dual citizenship I must work, I must eat, I must art, I must mother, I must friend, I must listen, I must observe, constantly I must live.” This strident, plaintive book introduces a major new voice in contemporary literature.