David Baker

1.We came to the island. We stayed in the house.Rain and sun. Bougainvillea. Pink cedar.How many shadows slipped along wallsor whetted the leaves of century plants?2.We saw clouds from the windows. Far boats.You left the bed and came back shaking.Your mother, her white hair, or somethingwhose shape would never, at last, find you.3.Night palms clattering like hungry bowls.Crazy whistling of the island peepers.We walked to the water. Walked back.We walked to the water . . . walked back.

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David Baker is author or editor of many books of poetry or about poetry. His latest collections include Swift: New and Selected Poems, (Norton, 2019), Seek After: Essays on Modern Lyric Poets (SFA University Press, 2018), and Scavenger Loop (Norton, 2015). Baker teaches literature, poetics, and creative writing at Denison University, in Granville, Ohio, and serves as Poetry Editor of The Kenyon Review.

“[Baker's] work evinces the moral courage of keeping still in the landscape. . . . He is heir to such writers as Henry David Thoreau . . . and Robert Frost. . . . To read Baker's poems collected in this way is to appreciate the full range of their formal resources, their attunement to cycles and processes rather than to mere outcomes and effects.”
The New Yorker

“‘The soft pewter sky sets off the black / checkmark bodies of the birds as they skitter,’ writes David Baker, and so background and foreground, stillness and motion are harnessed to describe an outer landscape that also delineates an inner, charged landscape. David Baker’s new and selected poems reveal his keen imagination and the formal mastery that infuse his emotionally resonant work.”
—Arthur Sze, author of Pulitzer Prize finalist Compass Rose

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