Poetry. In THE BLOODY PLANET, Callista Buchen calls out to the geographies of the solar system, considering the local and the grand, the Earth-bound and beyond.
Her speakers are searchers—through far-flung examinations and pursuits of strange landscapes, they bring us face to face with what it means to be human. On Mercury, 'Scars gather flesh— / fall apart. The ground writes, rewrites.' The speaker asks again and again: 'What does it matter?'
What matters is the gravity of place. What matters is what pulls us. In these twenty gorgeous, tensile poems, Buchen explores what connects and separates, culling from the planets a universe of language, color, work, art, even love.
"In THE BLOODY PLANET, Callista Buchen takes us on a breathtaking tour of the solar system, detailing the violent surfaces and inhospitable climates of each planet and leaving us in humble awe of our own. From Mercury's hot, unstable mantle to Mars's angry red dust to planet Uranus's bitter cold, Buchen stands in wonder of these planets, where 'giant spots maul whole / levels of world and swallow / themselves the dust afterwards.' In these tightly crafted poems, Buchen wisely looks beyond Earth to draw our attention to Earth, issuing a bold and urgent warning for a world on the brink of its own demise: 'See this, machine of humanity,' she writes. 'Dust only multiplies. You are marching. You are a lion. You are / THE BLOODY PLANET. You are painted red, a shrieking mouth.' Buchen's poems are significant, vital—as gorgeous and unstoppable as the alien storms they describe."—Alyse Knorr
"Callista Buchen's poetic impulse, a deep-felt mission to capture the quintessence of our solar system, is far from usual. Her aim, not to anthropomorphize, nor to reduce to metaphor those spinning emblems of childhood-learning, is rather to weave, out of unexplained contacts that her speakers make with each planet, a combined mood, or hybrid psychology…I love how space infiltrates these poems; how words occupy whatever space they can, and how small the human is at times, yet how conjoined the poet makes us feel with the larger medium of life, 'fleshy swans, wet grapes,' all of it. By the end of this wondrous chapbook, everything is one medium—clay, metal, fire, virus, and definition itself becomes porous, thanks to this poet, who has seen 'all the way around… the pool of time in between.'"—Larissa Szporluk
"At once intimate and expansive, and filled with discovery and wonder, the poems of THE BLOODY PLANET examine a universe that is devastating, beautiful, resilient—where image, language, and stone break open, where 'the ground writes, rewrites.' From Singapore to the 'husk and yard of Ohio,' from Mercury to the 'stylized dragonfly' of Neptune's strata, these poems breathe strange and lovely atmospheres and cover vast landscapes, searching deep beneath their rich grounds. As I read and reread this collection, I am continually awed by the haunting geology of Buchen's poems."—Amy Ash
"The enticing thing about Callista Buchen's THE BLOODY PLANET is its attention to landscape. Her poems encase the spirit with the wavy lines of a topographic map, and because the knobs and knolls and flaming fields of Earth are not sufficient for the task, she is forced to enlist the rest of the solar system. 'To understand it // geologically. This is the goal,' Buchen writes, and she does a highly creditable job of the task in this arresting collection of poems."—Karen Craigo
Callista Buchen is the author of LOOK LOOK LOOK (Black Lawrence Press, 2019) and the chapbooks Double- Mouthed (dancing girl press, 2016) and THE BLOODY PLANET (Black Lawrence Press, 2015). Her work appears in Harpur Palate, Puerto del Sol, Fourteen Hills, and many other journals, and she is the winner of DIAGRAM's essay contest. She teaches at Franklin College in Indiana, where she directs the visiting writers reading series and advises the student literary journal.
Author City: FRANKLIN, IN USA