A SHORT BESTIARY OF LOVE AND MADNESS, POEMS THAT GIVE VOICE TO THE ANIMAL IN US ALL
In verse and in prose, George Looney’s fifth book of poetry, A Short Bestiary of Love and Madness, delves into the worlds of birds and mammals, fish and insects, looking for ways to describe and maybe even understand the various madnesses that love brings. In the lives of the beasts we find find much hard evidence of loss and despair, but these fables and parables offer, along the way, absolution and, yes, even salvation, of a sort.
“George Looney’s poetry,” novelist and poet Laura Kasischke writes, “resonates at the level of myth and history, evoking a kind of ancient music alongside the details of our contemporary lives the way weather and the human psyche join to make a dream. This is an important and impressive new collection by one of our most interesting poets.” The poems in this collection create a realm where myth and history come together to form a natural world imbued with meaning, one that allows for the possibility of finding, carved in rock, “a figure that could be divine” (as one of the poems puts it).
In this evocative collection, as “Formed of Burning and Song” puts it, readers will witness a passionate language “etching / the elaborate form of longing in the earth.”
|Publisher:||Stephen F. Austin University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)|
About the Author
George Looney’s books include The Precarious Rhetoric of Angels (2005 White Pine Press Poetry Prize), Attendant Ghosts (Cleveland State University Press, 2000), Animals Housed in the Pleasure of Flesh (1995 Bluestem Award), Hymn of Ash (the 2007 Elixir Press Fiction Chapbook Award), a new book of poetry, Open Between Us (Turning Point Press, 2010), and the forthcoming A History of What Music Can Do (Truman State University Press, 2012). His work has earned fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, as well as awards from such literary journals as The Missouri Review, Zone 3, New Letters, and The Literary Review. He is Chair of the BFA in Creative Writing Program at Penn State Erie (a program he founded), Editor-in-Chief of the international literary journal Lake Effect, Translation Editor of Mid-American Review (where he was once Editor-in-Chief), and Co-Director (and Co-Founder) of the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival. He earned his M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
Read an Excerpt
“Formed of Burning and Song”
Once the moon was no different
than any other armadillo.
It loved the desert, alive with the commotion
of animals singing and dancing
around fires burning all night that left,
in the morning, circles of black glass.
The moon was always the first to wake,
and when he fell in love
it was only natural, he thought,
to make of the stone formed of burning and song
a gift that would speak of his love.
So he broke off two pieces and polished them
into black teardrops
to hang from his love’s ears.
When she refused them, the moon
rose into the sky, leaving
the black teardrops on the earth,
to burn in reflection, the only way
any charred soul can burn.
Though animals are without language now,
armadillos still dance in circles with abandon
when the moon is full and on fire,
their claws black teardrops etching the elaborate form
of longing in the earth.