Sunday, August 29, 2010

On Feeling Very Lucky

Some words about the book from poets I admire, for which I feel extremely grateful and undeserving:

“I don't recall being so moved by a body of poems—surely not any time recently. I'm moved in all ways—not just the details, the family, the place, the memories, but how sturdy the language is, how it never thins out against the subject it is expressing, the emotion that moves it. Mary Oliver says the reader needs to know right away if the poet has the oars of the poem firmly in hand. Every single poem here is rowed with strength and purpose.”

—Kathryn Stripling Byer

“In his exceptionally fine début, After the Ark, Luke Johnson exhibits superb craftsmanship and a precociously profound, sympathetic understanding of human nature. In poems about his parents—ministers—he and we discover a convincing theology of love. The collection pulls us toward the magnificent final and title poem, wherein the book becomes a brilliant revelatory whole. “

—Kelly Cherry

“Luke Johnson is a poet with a keen and open eye—open to human failings, human feelings, and to the hard specifics of the natural world in which and through which we live and love, betray and atone, are abandoned and are found. His language is as clear as his eye, and his poems are for all those who care deeply and remain open to the often painful complexities of that caring.”

—R. H. W. Dillard

“In After the Ark, Luke Johnson carefully ensures the “tautness of the line” between witness, elegy, and survival—the poems documenting finally an arrival at the place “where the flood has become the body.” This beautifully made collection is the welcome work of a poet crossing the threshold of a remarkable career.”

—Claudia Emerson

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