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A first collection from a poet of traumatic intensity and transcendence.
The death of a horse in the opening poem, a storm of violence throughout worth chasing, and one of love, loss, suicide, divorce, family, excursions both imaginary and all too real, remembered and created on the page, the poems in Jeanine Walker’s first book are intensely personal, the poems of someone who has been around, and, at the same time, poems that achieve the visionary impersonality marking truly transcendent poetry. This generous collection contains poem after poem that its reader will want to return to time and again.
“Jeanine Walker's remarkable debut collection is haunted by early profound grief: the present moment rocks with the sweetness and losses of the past, and the past with the present. Walker's poems are immediate and immersive, triggered by a mosquito flying from the future, or the curve in a road like the soft part in a brother's hair. Daughter, sister, lover, and landlord selves are as tenderly considered as they are flawed. There is joy here too, not least the joy of making—these poems vibrate with truth, deep feeling, and an exciting range of innovative narrative and lyric forms. This is a moving and impressive collection and a voice to be celebrated.” —Kathleen Flenniken
“Jeanine Walker's poems pluck images from a past to tumble them like stones. It is in the poem's turning that we enter new intricacies of human interaction and loss. Her language, at once quotidian and allegorial, describes a landscape inlaid with memory as well as potential. In this dazzling and haunting collection, a history of trauma and grief reminds us where we have been, but also where we can turn. ‘A world on fire burns as ferociously as a tiger's snarl./ I'm sorry. It is the best I can come up with. I am heat now; I am fire./ The world, a fist of fire, burns within me and I speak./ The world is a fist of fire: our dictionaries reflect this.’ These poems balance clarity with enigma in ways that are wholly Walker's own genius. This is a poet to follow. These are poems to live with.” —Claudia Rankine