Richard E. Messer earned his Ph.D. at the University of Denver. He has pursued post-graduate work in Analytical Psychology at the C.G. Jung Institute in Küsnacht, near Zurich. A poet, fiction writer, and literary critic, he is a Professor Emeritus of English at Bowling Green State University. His work has appeared in many journals, including The Nation, Psychological Perspectives, The Sun, and The Black Warrior Review. He is the author of three books of poetry, Murder in the Family, (1995) which was awarded the Nancy Dasher award by the College English Association, A Life on Earth, (2006) and most recently Dark Healing, published by il piccolo editions in November 2013.
Messer writes with a sureness that sounds not so much like intellectual conviction as the simple statement of bone and flesh. He has lived all these lives and can speak of them naturally as he breathes, and with the same pain and joy. —Marianna Hoffer, Ohioanna Quarterly
The concept of family is important to this author. ‘There is so much violence, particularly against women and children. I wanted to promote a feeling of solidarity within families and for the victims of violence, who are often stigmatized. Murder definitely does not fit in with the Great American Dream.’—Bonnie Blankinship, The Monitor
These poems, written from lived experience, speak for the survivors of personal violence. The pain inflicted on so many families in our violent age has seldom been faced with such unflinching determination to depict it honestly and wrest from it an acceptance of suffering based on a full, active and meaningful view of life. Does anyone escape suffering? No, that is why those who survive and go on to a new acceptance of life, reach out to those who are for the present victims. Tragedy teaches what intuition always whispers: there is a realm in which we are all present to each other; we are One in the deep heart’s core. We mourn those who die, and we move on through the knowledge that what has happened to them, no matter how brutal or tragic, does not define them—or us. Our spirits and our souls tell us who we are and give our lives their meaning.
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In this pioneering study, White explores the relationship between the natural history of the Columbia River and the human history of the Pacific Northwest for both whites and Native Americans. He concentrates on what brings humans and the river together: not only the physical space of the region but also, and primarily, energy and work. For working with the river has been central to Pacific Northwesterners' competing ways of life. It is in this way that White comes to view the Columbia River as an organic machine--with conflicting human and natural claims--and to show that whatever separation exists between humans and nature exists to be crossed.