Part Baudelairian flâneur, an Arcadian shepherd, the speaker in John Isles’s brave new Inverse Sky encounters a fragmented history. It is nineteenth-century California, and the missions are still burning after the Americans establish the Bear Flag Republic; it is the twenty-first century, and the miners of 49 are relegated to a mural in an arcade. Both a loner and a lover, Isles’s pilgrim-poet takes us on a journey where Native Americans are “missing persons” outside a diorama of their ancestors, then sets us adrift in settings ranging from film noir to the clear-cut hills of modern-day California landscapes, under siege but not defeated.
Related collections and offers
About the Author
John Isles is the author of Ark (Iowa, 2003) and coeditor of the Baltics section of New European Poets. He received an award from The Los Angeles Review in 2004 and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2005. His poems have appeared in such journals as American Letters & Commentary, the Boston Review, the Denver Quarterly, and Pleiades. He teaches at City College of San Francisco and lives with his wife, the poet Kristen Hanlon, and their son, Liam, in Alameda, California.