Press Release (ePRNews.com) - BRUNSWICK, Maine - Aug 14, 2017 - Candling the Eggs, the most recent poetry collection by Wally Swist, will be released August 15, 2017, by Shanti Arts Publishing.
Having produced over thirty books and chapbooks, Wally Swist views his latest as his finest yet. The poems collected in Candling the Eggs were written largely between January 2014 and January 2016 when Swist was not only invested in his perennial connection with the natural world (“Female Cardinal,” “Milk Snake”) but also in a rich exploration of memories from both his childhood and adolescence (“Candling the Eggs,” “In the Cold with Henry Purcell”) and some of
his more significant experiences as a young man (“Ray’s Coffee Shop,” “McClure”).
During this time period, Swist came to realize that the recent increase in political strife and threats to wisdom and compassionate living needed to be addressed in his writing. Poems such as “Abhorrence,” “Malediction,” “Trump,” “After Cecil,” “Suicide Vest,” and “Grand Wizard” are his attempts to speak out against political oppression and a starkly authoritarian and backward-reaching American government.
Swist’s raison d’etre—finding the numinous in the commonplace, especially in nature—is also on display in this collection, with poems “Ode to the Iris,” “Dream Time,” and “Presence on the Mountain.”
Wally Swist has published hundreds of articles and reviews, yet his focus has always been writing poetry. He has received several fellowships and residencies, including from the Connecticut Commission of the Arts and the Trustees of the Estate of Robert Francis. Numerous awards and honors have come his way, most notably the Touchstone Distinguished Book Award from The Haiku Foundation for his book The Windbreak Pine: New and Uncollected Haiku, 1985-2015 (Ormskirk, U.K.: Snapshot Press, 2016) in April 2017. Also, Garrison Keillor read his poem “Radiance” on The Writers Almanac radio program in July 2014.
Swist’s hope for this new collection is that readers might become more aware of the possibilities that come from being fully present in their lives, not only practically and spiritually but also politically and aesthetically. “Do we really need a poem that regards a centipede or a chestnut-sided warbler, a white-footed mouse or giant leopard moths? My answer would be only if those poems pull us out of the Trumpian darkness of boldfaced lies and dereliction of humane responsibility. My hope is that these poems candle their way to offering a path to the greater light and show the possibilities to living a greater life, both inwardly and outwardly, which is truly the hope of us all.”
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
Candling the Eggs Source :
Shanti Arts Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-947067-07-3 (print; softcover; perfect bound) | $15.95
ISBN: 978-1-947067-08-0 (digital)
Shanti Arts Publishing