Trickster

Trickster



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2014
82 pages, 6 x 8 inches
Paper: 
$18.50
9781609382841
eBook, perpetual ownership: 
$18.50
9781609382957

“I admire the clarity, the urgency, the invention, the intelligence, and the commitment of Randall Potts’s new book of poems. A terrific book.”—Gerald Stern

“Potts writes poems charged with an intense and loving empathy with the living and non-living things of the Earth and the spirit that animates them. His poems are grounded in images and borne aloft by the song of ancient and modern traditions. They are touched by the spirit that moves through the work of Merwin, Trakl, and Tarkovsky, a spirit that endows things with the luminous effects of golden sunlight scattered through leaves, illuminating darkness with hope.”—Geoffrey Nutter, author, The Rose of January and Christopher Sunset

Trickster opens with a crank call to the reader: “How was I to know / You were thin, your garden / Was covered in smoke / That you sat in your house / Coughing?” Over the course of these beautiful and eerily accomplished poems, Potts's reader is taken on a journey that is at once time-scarred and resolutely contemporary, earthy and haunted, moving from estrangement to reconciliation. Amidst a deepening sense of crisis, the Trickster of Potts’s imagination emerges as aggressor, prankster, victim, and healer, forging resilient music from the afflictions of the mind's “infested nest.”

Trickster veers quickly from meditation and narrative to song, plunging the reader into a liminal world of dreams, archaic lyrics, and fables, populated with figures ranging from the Hawk and Worm, the Cat and Dove, to Cold and Death. It is a wilderness in which all things are alive: “a blade of grass / equal to the suffering / of a lifetime.” Yet it is also a place of menace, “where a fly with one wing, keeps / tipping over in the grass, where / the ants will have him.” Whether or not the Trickster reaches utopia, he reckons with the world that is achievable on earth and in words, “those dreams of woods / relayed to you.”

Excerpt: 

Dream

 

 

I dream a reactor to ruin

A dam to rubble—

 

“Someday machines

Can finish your work,” I shout

To the Watchmen—

 

To dark city hills I sing:

“Sleep, sleep

Let us vanish without trace!”

 

To myself I whisper, “My body is a fuse

I have begun to burn.

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