I came homefrom my mother's funeralto a house of my own makingto dust I didn't wantto lift from a shelfI came home astonishedby life being the samestruck dumbwhen the knifesunk into the melon
“Black Snow” from Birches © 2019 by Carl Adamshick.
Appears with the permission of Four Way Books.
All rights reserved.
Carl Adamshick works as editor of Tavern Books, a non-profit publisher dedicated to poetry and the preservation of books and book culture. His published works include Curses and Wishes, recipient of the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, Saint Friend, and Receipt. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
“This book wrecks me, and calms me, and is an apologia for love, its intimacies made into art. It is also deeply human, arguing in poems of enormous beauty that ‘we share what it means to live’ when ‘it's evening in the box of the world.’”
“Carl Adamshick´s new poems watch over his dying mother. Ornament has been stripped from this collection called Birches. Need drives the poems a need to tell the truth, a need to fix in time what can never be fixed: life. Adamshick´s great talent and concision with his art bear down on every line. The poems say: ‘I'm alive./I find that undeniable/and my mother is what we have come/ to define as dead./ She remains in that noun/ like the moon remains itself.’ At times it feels Adamshick is picking up where James Wright left off: Midwestern yet worldly, transcendent, ecstatic rather than confessional. I am grateful for the book. I marvel how the work holds and honors this mother for us, refining her into something genuine and lasting: what other art does that more clearly than poetry?”