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Winner of the 2022 Off the Grid Poetry Prize, a masterful collection by Donald Platt, "one of the finest American poets working today," writes poet and editor Adrian Matejka
In SWANSDOWN, the poet Donald Platt makes a study of life’s inevitable transitions, from love’s astonishing evolutions, to aging and its attendant losses. With the poem "Cloud Study" Platt brings his own mortality into view. Returning to a painting by Constable, he considers his own perspective, sitting by the Liffey, tending an injured knee. Young mothers, lovers, and runners pass, reminding the poet of who he once was and how quickly life, like weather, shifts. "Two minutes later, // The clouds would have taken on a different cast of light and shape / just like the thunderheads / now piling up above the Liffey."
Platt advises: "To approach old age, one needs a new harsher style." And yet these poems are proof of the softness that may follow life’s harshest reckonings, like the wisps of hair on his beloved brother’s head as he lies dying, "fine / as milkweed silk. / His head a split / dried pod whose seeds / wind will scatter." The poems of Swansdown point us to a "larger landscape," they are the clouds "that scud across the blue escutcheon of sky. . . Sun’s blazon through rain rampant."
"One of the finest American poets working today," writes poet and editor Adrian Matejka, "A writer of unparalleled lyric and formal integrity." It is indeed these qualities that gird Platt for this masterful eighth collection.
Donald Platt has published seven books of poetry, including ONE ILLUMINATED LETTER OF BEING (Red Mountain Press, 2020), Man Praying (Free Verse Editions / Parlor Press, 2017), and Tornadoesque (CavanKerry Press, 2016). Platt's poems have appeared in The New Republic, Nation, Poetry, Yale Review, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, Georgia Review, Ploughshares, Southwest Review, Tin House, Iowa Review, Southern Review, and Paris Review as well as in The Best American Poetry 2000, 2006, and 2015. He is a recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1996 and 2011) and three Pushcart Prizes and he teaches in Purdue University's MFA Program. His eighth collection SWANSDOWN, was the winner of the 2022 Off the Grid Poetry Prize.