Candling the Eggs

Candling the Eggs

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Acclaimed poet Wally Swist remarks on events of everyday living in this brilliant collection. "The Female Cardinal," "Ray's Sandwich Shop," "Ode to My New Shoes," and, of course, "Candling the Eggs" show us how to notice the value in commonplace events. Yet, there is more, as we see in "What is Essential" and "Abhorrence;" living calls for action. Of over thirty books and chapbooks, this is perhaps his finest.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 128 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 8mm | 172g
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 1947067079
  • 9781947067073

Review quote

This multi-faceted panoply reminds us again why we read Swist. Poems written in "Dream Time" . . . "between snowmelt and first bloom," the pre-election "predator with the blowsy hairdo, who is Donald Trump," a Klan Grand Wizard from a boyhood parade, and the "pressureunder the skull" of the poet's lurking "Migraines." But ultimately we're rewarded with "The Kiss" " . . . a shiver, a shock of static --/ which just begins to open the door of mystery/ that leads to the grand suite of the soul."

-- Art Beck, poet, essayist, and winner of the 2013 Northern California Book Award for poetry in translation for Luxorius Opera Omnia

It is hard to read any of Swist's poems without learning something new: the origin of a word, the folk name of a snake, the demise of composer Henry Purcell, a candid glimpse of a famous writer or actress. And always the birds flare throughout the lines of Swist's poems, and the deer stamp their feet, and the hawks crash out of the sky, and the snakes appear and disappear magically. Swist holds the translucent eggshell of the world up to the illumination of his visions in a dark age; he looks for signs of life and sees them before the rest of us even know what will be born.

-- Parkman Howe, Poetry Editor, Appalachia

In these meticulous and profound poems, Wally Swist creates for us a realm that is both recognizable and transformed. His passion for and intimacy with nature are ever-present, but he is far from being a "nature poet" in the usual sense, though his imagery is often indelible. On the contrary, the flora and fauna, landscapes and weather of his world are part of a complex mix that subtly includes human life in all its socio-political complexity. He's not afraid to think in these poems, and the intelligence that drives them runs through them like a quiet underground fire. In fact, much of the work of these explorations happens below ground, so that what at first seem commonplace details can suddenly take us off guard, revealing surprising depths. Swist is a poet intent on investigating the human spirit and its potential for opening into deeper and deeper engagement with the world. This is tough moral work, and one of its fruits is gratitude: " . . . How fortunate we are / to live in the world that offers us / its constant reminders of who / we are and what our true being is." This book continues to haunt me.

-- Chase Twichell, award-winning poet, editor, professor, founder of Ausable Press
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