NAMING THE CONSTELLATIONS New Poems by John Thomas York is at the top of my list of recommended books you will want to put on your shopping list. This is a book that will please any reader. I can guarantee that the men on your list will like these poems. Three specific men who read and raved about these poems are: Fred Chappell, Mark Smith-Soto and Al Maginnes. Their endorcements from the back cover of the book are reprinted below. The book has 36 pages and was published at Spring Street Editions, Sylva, NC in collaboration with Ash Creek Press, Portland, OR.
There were a number of poems I liked. The publisher said I could choose one to reprint. That was not easy for me. I liked
"The Gift" his mother poem and "Puzzle" his father poem. The title poem, "Naming the Constellations" is excellent. I liked many but finally chose " The Loon." It is reprinted for you.
--by John Thomas York
(Critical Comment from the back cover)
Fred Chappell writes: "These Poems by John Thomas York recall to vivid life a mode of existence that has well nigh disappeared. His pliant lyricism is born from a deep love of country things, county people and the country itself in the widest meaning of that term. It is a country the poet says he did not return to, "for the land lives in me, the kingdom come." That's true--and what a grand kingdom it is!"
Mark Smith-Soto writes: "Ever mindful of natural wonders, rooted in the realities of a country boyhood whose shaping influence resounds through every line, and suffused with a melancholy that is never morbid or self-pitying, this little book contains more real poetry than most full-length volumes I have read of late. Naming the Constellations offers rare gifts: the cadence of a voice that never tires the ear, and the eye of a man accustomed to seeing the glow around common things."
Al Maginnes writes: "While the poems of Naming the Constellations have their feet firmly planted "between young corn and shining gravel," they are always gazing beyond, to "the Big Dipper's cup, over to Polaris, the penny nail on which the Little Dipper swings." These poems, while rooted in their narrator's rural upbringing, also "dream through the years," so they are simultaneously elegy and celebration. This is a strong collection that will reward many readings."
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