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Poems from a clear-eyed realist, this new collection from Amy Barone enumerates our losses but is ultimately hopeful.
In her new collection, DEFYING EXTINCTION, poet Amy Barone informs us that she is in line for the spaceship to migrate to Mars. It’s easy to understand the impulse to escape this troubled world with “its fuss that festers when walls go up” for “a life unfettered / by wires, rules, love, and reason,” but the rest of her book suggests she’s not quite ready to give up on more terrestrial solutions. Her opening poem is a hopeful catalog of animal “Survivors”, and she appends herself to that list. Her defiance is that of a clear-eyed realist, and her poems enumerate losses, as various as formerly happy Venezuelans “starved for hope and joy,” or horses dying of tainted feed, both victims of human folly and greed. She mourns the erosion of “Civilization as I like it – slowly vanishing in American towns.” Her title poem is a memorial to the Triangle Shirtwaist victims, making plain that the extinction we are denying is our own, at our own hands. Still, this is an optimistic volume, and Barone finds hope in such “heirlooms” as analog clocks, spicy food, and handkerchiefs, in the fact the Catallus still instructs us over centuries, and in trees “that take longer / than stars and some loves to die.” She also offers such sage advice as “Date music, not musicians” and “Friends and lovers should be stamped / with an expiration date.” She ends on a near universal pandemic sentiment, “I miss what once was / and a little of what followed,” and exhorts us to learn from this moment: “Recharge your smartphone – / freedom’s on the line.”
"The title of Amy Barone’s new collection of poems, DEFYING EXTINCTION, is absolutely perfect! Amy travels around the world to view nature, and then write about it, thus saving it. She starts with Bermuda’s Nonsuch Island, moves on to Santo Domingo, gets to the Great Barrier Reef and then eventually ends up in Kruger National Park. There’s even a poem entitled ‘Mars Bound!’ She celebrates her love of Earth and of the heavens, not to mention the occasional love in her life, for one overriding purpose—to push extinction away from herself, and by extension, from all of us. This is a vital book in these harsh times, please check it out." —Ron Kolm, Contributing Editor of Sensitive Skin magazine and author of Swimming in the Shallow End
"In DEFYING EXTINCTION, Amy Barone gathers memories, sensations, and images and presents them with an artist’s insight. Here are flashes of places and events in our natural world—and beyond—in poems that sparkle like the jewels that are often mentioned. Barone’s imagination ranges far and wide, yet is anchored close to home. She sets out to preserve the essence of who we are—and what we’ve lost—so that it will never disappear. She has succeeded admirably. Reading these poems is like seeing things anew, from childhood to present, and understanding what we are seeing." —Thaddeus Rutkowski, author of Tricks of Light
"As if reading sacred hieroglyphs by torchlight, Amy Barone brings the shrines of her life into crystal-etched relief. Elegiac, erudite, and elegant, she captures the raptures (and ruptures) of existence. DEFYING EXTINCTION stylishly resurrects our faith in omens." —Jeffrey Cyphers Wright, author of Party Everywhere
Amy Barone is the author of WE BECAME SUMMER (New York Quarterly Books 2018), Kamikaze Dance (Finishing Line Press, which recognized her as a finalist in the 2014 Annual New Women's Voices Chapbook Competition). Foothills Publishing released her first chapbook, Views from the Driveway, in 2008. Her poetry has appeared in Local Knowledge, New Verse News, Paterson Literary Review, Sensitive Skin, and Standpoint (UK), among other magazines and anthologies. She spent five years as Italian correspondent in Milan for Women's Wear Daily and Advertising Age. Barone has worked as a communications director at non-profit, government, and private organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Villanova University and a Master degree from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Barone is a member of the Poetry Society of America and belongs to the brevitas online poetry community that celebrates the short poem. She performs at spoken word events at venues in New York City, Northern New Jersey and Philadelphia. A native of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, she lives in New York City.