Winner of the 2022 Cider Press Review Editors' Prize Book Award.
Lola Haskins, author of Asylum: Improvisations on John Clare (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019), writes: “In this collection, Looney dances as if no one were watching as he turns longing, sorrow, and loss into prayer. He has a gift for light—‘Everything/bejeweled this morning, as if remembered,’ ‘this woman’s bare shoulder/illumined by a four-in-the-morning moon’ —and an ear for birds—wrens, doves and starlings that sing baroque, and for the way, like them, a trapeze artist leaps into thin air. And if that weren’t enough, he offers us such seemingly effortless phrases as ‘the stink/and nervous ruin of his cigarette,’ and ‘the rush and stuttering of wings.’ Go see the acrobats. You’ll be glad you did.”
“If George Looney's THE ACROBATIC COMPANY OF THE INVISIBLE beautifully offers for our consideration a series of meetings, of light and grass, of figures in a photograph, of instants of space and time, it is above all a study of missed connections, of one awake and one asleep, of distances between word and meaning, the present and the absent, a face and a memory. And yet finally, throughout these poems there is music, there are sparrows, a moon that comes and goes, and the grace to counterbalance loss and departure.”—Nancy Eimers, author of Human Figures
“George Looney has the uncanny ability to make readers smile while leading them through a valley littered with loss and a longing that ‘haunts us more than the dead do.’ Wryly observing that ‘we keep [the dead] with us, still/and outside time,’ Looney offers music as a source of consolation to both the living and the ghosts living among us: ‘An ibis calls out this morning,/its song something/both the dead and the living love.’ Looney chooses not to succumb to sorrow, and the birds he summons in these achingly beautiful poems become metaphors for faith—’the faith/that lets sparrows leap into air.’ —Nancy Naomi Carlson, author of An Infusion of Violets
George Looney's books include the recently-released ODE TO THE EARTH IN TRANSLATION (Red Mountain Press, 2021), THE WORST MAY BE OVER (Elixir Press, 2020), which won the Elixir Press Fiction Award, THE ITINERATE CIRCUS: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS 1995-2020 (Red Mountain Press, 2020), the Red Mountain Press Poetry Award-winning WHAT LIGHT BECOMES: THE TURNER VARIATIONS (Red Mountain Press, 2019), and the novel Report from a Place of Burning (Leapfrog Press, 2018) which was co-winner of The Leapfrog Press Fiction Award. He is the founder of the BFA in Creative Writing Program at Penn State Erie, editor-in- chief of the international literary journal Lake Effect, translation editor of Mid-American Review, and co- founder of the original Chautauqua Writers' Festival.