We hold our bodies; mine shakes.
It shakes and shakes till my seed
is making dry music like a gourds.
Seed and language, mine and hers,
deepest flesh I have. No end to
shake and sing while the blood goes.
from Body Dreams
The Half-Life, Roger Greenwalds third book of poems, falls into
three sections. Body Dreams conveys the depths of
feeling that both idylls and nightmares emerge from. Home on the Range finds the poet
becalmed but far from calm. In Open Water he casts himself into the world,
into the lows and highs of travel: solitudes and new encounters, all suffused with memory.
What is unfamiliar and exhilarating in these poems is Greenwalds unique braiding of
narrative, idea, and voice as the bearer of emotion. As Rosanna Warren said in recommending
his previous book in Ploughshares, He sounds like no one else.
Ive been a grateful reader of Roger Greenwalds work for many years. This moving
collection names again and again the hard names, with their deep tone-falls, that mark the inner
landscape of his poetry. Its a sensuous wordscape of life and loss, and its an emotional
terrain that offers the reader any number of routes, all of them finally transcendental.
I have the highest regard for Greenwalds poetry.
Roger Greenwald grew up in New York City. He attended City College and the Poetry Project workshop at St. Marks Church In-the-Bowery. then completed graduate degrees at the University of Toronto, where he founded and edited the international literary annual WRIT Magazine at Innis College. His poetry has appeared in such journals as The World, Pequod, Pleiades, Poetry East, Prism International, The Spirit That Moves Us, The Texas Observer, Great River Review, Leviathan Quarterly, Exile Magazine, CNQ, Copper Nickel, The Massachusetts Review, and Stand Magazine. He has won two CBC Literary Awards (for poetry and travel literature), the Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry Prize, and many awards for his translations from Scandinavian languages. He has published two previous books of poems: Connecting Flight and Slow Mountain Train.
Rochester, NY: Tiger Bark Press, 2020
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