Beyond the Useful Life

Brandon Krieg

A crow drinks rain from a paint bucket’s overturned lid.Two teens lie on a rock after swimming, waiting for their cut-off fatigues to dry.Steelhead suspend inside the cab of a sunken Ford where the river bends.A heap of sun-bleached shells shines beside the oysterhouse.Under three bales of rusted fencing, a garter snake rests.The barn’s last remaining pane flashes as I bike past.

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Brandon Krieg is the author of Invasives, a finalist for the 2015 ASLE Book Award in Environmental Creative Writing, and a chapbook, Source to Mouth. His poems have appeared in The Antioch Review, Crazyhorse, FIELD, The Iowa Review, and West Branch. He is an assistant professor of English at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.

Codhill Poetry Award Winner 2016

“In Brandon Krieg’s stunning collection In the Gorge, we are placed on a tightrope, balancing the leisure of Western society against the survival of the natural world. Here, nature and human lunge and parry, conjoined twins in a struggle to the death. Krieg reminds us that our manufactured beauty is part of the planet-wide tableau—“looking down from an overpass / looking up through the canopy / the contrails the sunset / are not different things.” Part pastoral, part elegy for our future on Earth, In the Gorge urges us to believe in mercy, in redemption, and the dire need for entwining ourselves with the natural world.”
—Glenn Shaheen

“Cornfields, jet trails and power lines, fences, abandoned mines and greenhouses—human delineations mar but do not yet overpower the nonhuman landscapes in Brandon Krieg’s stark, unerring and beautiful poems that, over and over, seek “to find the way back // to this day among days.” Krieg’s voice is watchfully tender, attentive to nature and to our moment in it, ever aware that even as we leave our signatures after us, so does fireweed. In this lovely ecopoetry, Krieg achieves a “good fearfulness” and even a joy that is no more or less elemental than rain.”
—Nancy Eimers

“Intelligence at its vastest stretches to a scarcest cry, and is ours, and not: you’ll hear it amply in the haunted, restless, dead-on lively poetry to be found in Brandon Krieg’s In the Gorge, a collection that finds its author deep in it, the sorrow and the joy, and the clarities that in this poetry have a luminosity all their own, because they have been seen, because they have themselves seen through us.”
—William Olsen

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