Synopses & Reviews
In his third collection Clay (A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World) circles around change and the recontextualization of life that change brings. A simple shift of location can alter everything: "once the trees did not need their names" he writes "it needed no one/ to explain its madness to." Clay wrestles with small ripples that have great personal ramifications: the empty room that once held a lifetime; the new life in a cradle demanding attention; a cross country move that shifts what the idea of winter means. That wrestling spills out over four sections one of which is a long meditation on the framing of life and the contexts people place themselves in every day. In language that is circular stoic and almost Zen like Clay attempts to remain himself in the face of life shifting underneath him: "the space/ a body holds in any moment// is a marker of something greater/ than ourselves." At times the circular thinking spins away from him—the book feels long and the poems are very similar in tone and subject—but Clay's language saves these imperfections from overtaking the whole: "I'd like to maintain a consistent voice// or maybe I'd just like to maintain a consistent/ direction to cast my voice in." (Feb.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
Stranger is a book of both great change and deep roots, of the most rich elements of the earth and the instability of a darkening sky. The third collection by Adam Clay dives into a dynamic world where the only map available is "not of the world / but of the path I took to arrive in this place, / a map with no real definable future purpose." Tracing a period of great change in his life--a move, a new job, the birth of his first child--Clay navigates the world with elegance and wonder, staring into the heart of transition and finding in it the wisdom that "Despite our best efforts to will it shut, / the proof of the world's existence / can best be seen in its insistence, / in its opening up." By firmly grasping on to the present, the past and the future collapse into the lived moment, allowing for an unclouded view of a way forward.