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A Book of Odes by Alan Baker

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"A Book of Odes is a joy to read because Baker is so adroit at speaking of many things at the same time that we never lose sight of any of them, and not only that, they are important things, whether it’s the lives of natural things in our unnatural world, and vice versa, or those unnatural things themselves, which in the end turn out to be natural, too, since what else can they be, there’s only one place for everything to be happening, which at times looks/feels like “an underground lake reflecting / a street at night”, at others a “sun-wet road as questioner” and at others a “fog in which fish consider / the human legacy / & find it wanting”. These poems show us what Donna Haraway was telling us when she wrote:

“It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what descriptions describe descriptions, what ties tie ties.”

Pay attention to these poems. They matter."

John Bloomberg-Rissman

Red Ceilings Press

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