“Photographers once risked their hands and eyes igniting vials of magnesium powder, so powerful is the love of the image,” says the title poem of this collection, whose images range from the northern lights to St. Bridget turning bathwater into beer. “Did you know some people claim to have heard the aurora?” one poem asks. The muses of music and image wrestle in these poems, but from the songs of Elvis Costello to the operas of Leoš Janácek, music seems to prevail, even against “the glorious, trillion-spined black lava slicing through your flip-flops” and "night jasmine kicking the door ajar.”
About the Author
ROBERT THOMAS' first book, Door to Door (Fordham University Press, 2002), was chosen by Yusef Komunyakaa as the winner of the Poets Out Loud Prize, and in 2003 he received a poetry fellowship form the National Endowment for the Arts. He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, Field, The Iowa Review, New England Review, and many other magazines. He and his wife live in South San Francisco.
Table of Contents
ENGULFED CATHEDRAL The Varieties of Love • The Muse's Complaint: Take This Job and Shove It • Four Parallel Lines • Sleepwalker • Dragging the Lake DANCING THE SZATMARI The Invention of Silk • Fast Angel • Night Shift • Song of the Soft-Shoe Sirens • Diary of One Who Vanished TUNING PEGS Galileo's Notes • Aurora • The Origin of Poetry • Still Life with Pears • Concerto in E Minor
What People are Saying About This
"A far-ranging mind made these poems, one in which intelligence and imagination combine in a rare ability to reason with imagery and sound. That may seem a familiar definition of poetic talent, but in these poems it gives the voice an authority that's both reliable and constantly surprising. Thomas can enter another consciousness, century, or personal history with as much facility as he moves through his own life and world. Thus, although many poems are written in persona, they feel more like an inhabitation than a trick of ventriloquism. Yet for all its interest in the mind's capacity to travel outside of itself, this is poetry written in the pure American English of the present moment. Dragging the Lake is smart, funny, moving, and profound."
"Robert Thomas knows what a frenulum is, and the skills a shoemaker needed in 1623. His range of reference and imagery is wide, including music (classical and popular), history, and the hard sciences, and from these he makes poems unlike anyone else's. He can be lyrically contemporary, or speak in extended narratives through the personae of Leos Janacek, Jakob Boehme, and Jacqueline du Pre. Dragging the Lake is richly textured, various, deeply satisfying, and snazzy."