Whale of Desire

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About the author:
Noted for both the dexterity and accessibility of his poetry, Micah Towery writes with a variation of tone and idiom that matches his diverse background: from Coca-Cola delivery driver to baker to church organist. After studying at Binghamton University and Hunter College, Towery moved to Vancouver, BC, where he taught university writing and literature. He now lives in the midwest and teaches at Indiana University - South Bend. He also helps manage the writing community of the popular poetry blog thethepoetry.com.

Whale of Desire

Authored by Micah Towery
Introduction by Alfred Corn
Edition: 1

Micah Towery's poems are little miracles of lyric intelligence pitched against a skeptic's need for faith: faith in God, faith in other people, faith in love, and faith that daily life means more than its repetitions and its downward spiral toward death. His devotion to the clear expression of such mixed emotions is reflected in how these poems are by turns satiric, tender, self-deprecating, and vulnerable. And as if to match this wide range of tone, his idiom is among the most varied and surprising of any writer of his generation: he moves from high style to plain style with the assurance of O'Hara and Bishop at their best. I greatly admire the integrity of feeling in these poems, their sophistication, and their devotion to subjects that are large and important and deeply felt.-Tom Sleigh, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

One of these [poems] figures God's face as a hammer, and I'm tempted to apply the same metaphor to Towery's craft. It could be either the ball peen of an industrial worker or else a sculptor's hammer, one that overcomes the resistance of metallic or stony material....With the hammer of his art, this poet has knocked on the firmament, and the firmament has opened. If the light he found there was not fully comprehended, neither was it engulfed in darkness. The light he saw, he relays to us in turn. -Alfred Corn, from the introduction

I predict in the coming weeks months years we'll all say one thing about Whale of Desire: this is the book we've been waiting, anxiously, to appear on the scenes. Part Confession (a la Augustine), part pyrrhonism skepticism, part mythical, completely contemporary, Towery's debut collection is the grittiest prayer: "may they find us too heavy-May they leave us to our ways-May we become two fattened saints stupid with prayer." -Metta Sáma, author of Nocturne Trio (YesYes Bøøks)

Artists of the great spirit such as Saint Augustine, or Rumi, or John Coltrane, know the space between the invisible and the visible is what we make. In this slim book of lyrics and portraits Micah Towery laces up the profound from the mundane and daily detritus of work and loss and love, to take us to someplace healing, inside an old yet new kind of choreography: "I counterpoint even hands to fingers, choose instead, no word for sorrow." -Sean Thomas Dougherty, author of All You Ask for Is Longing (BOA Editions)

Publication Date:
099115231X / 9780991152315
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
5.5" x 8.5"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Poetry / American / General

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