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Other titles in the Stahlecker Series Selections series:
What the Right Hand Knows (Stahlecker Series Selection)by Tom Healy
Synopses & Reviews
"Laconic yet passionate and sparely personal, the poems in this first book set urbanity and unfolding tragedy in common words and slow-moving, short lines. A gallery owner since the 1990s and a significant figure in New York City's art scene, Healy unsurprisingly sets some poems there; his real gifts emerge, though, in allegorical or remembered rural locales. In one poem 'mother and son' take 'a Sunday drive on Tuesday' through the land where they grew up, 'their remembered selves waving,/ as farmers do.' The specter of chronic disease, likely HIV, looms over that and other verse ('Everyone is so involved/ keeping track of my pills'), while the shadow of time passing besets them all; readers who admire Mark Doty may find far more concise versions of Doty's effects. Healy's finest moments make him spare, elegiac and wry all at the same time: 'What do we do when we hate our bodies?/ A good coat helps.' So often interested in bodies, their pleasures, their troubles, Healy frequently decides that neither poetry nor anything else can console us when bodies don't work: 'sleep, vegetables, short walks' or even poems all seem to lead 'to the logic of failure,// the panic that mind/ is not enough.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Healy's sensual, urgent debut collection moves from farmyard to cityscape as it depicts a teetering, asymmetric world. A speaker deaf in one ear ponders that the Moon's dark side / has no sound; a mother and child finally take the journey they'd talked about but get only a Sunday drive on Tuesday, a near-miss tracing circumferences. Healy's assured rhythms and measured stresses ballast the uncertainty of social relationships and bodily suffering. He seeks past the self for ways to act: the task is to remember / the troubled blood of others, // and not remember // the bliss of deeper waters. This book of salt and work, of surviving ourselves, our illnesses, and our language, tenderly explores the unsaid and under-the-surface of the separate lives we live together: we sat // in the rocking chairs / of each other's / moods. An intimate, intelligent, and lively debut.
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