Synopses & Reviews
is that rare book that speaks in the voice of a generation. The voice comes from an acclaimed young poet who, after working years in obscurity, was fêted with the prestigious Walt Whitman Award for his first collection. This, his second book, is a freewheeling explosion of celebrations, elegies, narratives, psychologically raw persona pieces (one in the voice of Amelia Earhart), and a handful of punchy lyric poems with a desperate humor. It is, as the title suggests, a book exalting love among friends in our scattered times. Opening with a five-page anthem called Layover,” it begins:
They keep paging Kenneth Koch at the airport.
Someone should let the announcer know
he is dead, that there is no city he can go to,
that no one is expecting him. Once, I applied
to be a horse...
He is a poet rarely found these days. He comes not from the land of MFA and writing programs, but from the outsider country of a self-made artist.” Matthew Dickman
"Carl Adamshick is weird. I mean, thank God. Weird and comic. After all, Once, I applied/ to be a horse. But Adamshick's arresting images and loonier tunes are like sparks given off by wheels that turn our mourning, our confusions, our tenderness and so ultimately these are poems of great substance, powered by great love. A red-barked tree applauds/ the day. Well, I applaud Saint Friend." Albert Goldbarth
"I love the range of Carl Adamshick's spirit there's rootedness and flux here, exuberance and a whispered entanglement with mystery. But it's the sense of faith in these poems that I respond to most faith in the bonds that can form between us. Her heart could house a cathedral” what a lovely idea, and what an expansive wish this poet makes for all of us that we feel connected in the deepest way to what we wonder and believe." Bob Hicok
"Saint Friend is a book of a rare order. At once astonished and pained, this collection gathers power because of its philosophical quietude. Wisdom rises up because Carl Adamshick begins each line with a reverence made sheer by what can and cannot be known. With narrative tracings devoid of narrative tyranny, the opening poem might be one of the finest long poems of our contemporary period. I say this because Adamshick's poetic mastery seeks, at every turn, to be humane, to be pure in its sayings, its questions, its manifold varieties of honesty. To read Saint Friend in its abundant power, put your own life down and 'Empty/ the world of everything/ except this.'" Katie Ford
About the Author
Carl Adamshick's first collection, Curses and Wishes: Poems, won the Walt Whitman Award in 2010, and was published by Louisiana State University the following year. His book was selected by Marvin Bell. Adamshick's poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, the Harvard Review, the Missouri Review, Narrative, the Oregonian, and elsewhere. Hes received an Oregon Literary Fellowship from Literary Arts and is a cofounder of Tavern Books (Portland, Ore.), which he runs with former Stegner Fellow Michael McGriff. Adamshick was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1969 but grew up in Harvard, Illinois. He lives now in Portland, Oregon.