poems by Rebecca A. Durham
Chosen by Susan Howe for the Marsh Hawk Press Rochelle Ratner Memorial Award, Loss/Less is a collection that addresses grief and reverence for the natural world. These commanding yet haunting poems present an “ecstatic interpretation of the natural world that brings Emerson to mind. Her lush, vibrant language is a hymn, hypnotic—and a warning about our human impact, our ‘monstrous lust’ that threatens” (Erin Malone).
POETRY / Subjects & Themes / Nature
ISBN: 978-1-956056-16-7 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
Copyright 2022; released January 2022
Rebecca A. Durham is a poet, botanist, and artist. Originally from New England, she currently lives in Montana. Rebecca’s writing has been featured in national and international journals, literary magazines, and anthologies. Half-Life of Empathy, an award-winning book of ecopoetry, was published in 2020 (New Rivers Press).
“‘This is how I enter the forest & this is how it enters me too.’ Rebecca Durham’s Loss/Less is an ecstatic interpretation of the natural world that brings Emerson to mind. Her lush, vibrant language is a hymn, hypnotic—and a warning about our human impact, our ‘monstrous lust’ that threatens.
“Loss/Less by Rebecca A. Durham amplifies the sonorous field of lichen, chickadees, obsidian rock, and waters that populate these poems, while simultaneously marking extinction’s silences. The language ‘pulses like iambs’ and asks the reader to listen ‘with mycelium ears.’ We have the privilege to ‘squat here in the hum & flutter’ while Durham wields her botanical magic and poetic craft to render the forest through ‘sap that writhes / finds its way / from my throat.’ She commands ‘uncut / all those holy trees’ in these poems that burst with life and are haunted by the anthropocene’s ‘silver violence / forged from forget.’ Durham asks us to engage in a practice of loss: a necessary practice of grief for the planet.”
“One can only imagine the music created by Orpheus that charmed the plants and animals, and not unlike the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century artists who painted this story over and over to enact a kind of planetary reconciliation in the midst of political and religious strife, Rebecca Durham’s Loss/Less invites us into a parallel moment in history. One reads the title of the collection, Loss/Less, as loess, windblown sediments that sweep sonically across the page in the manner of ‘This Water Is Licked by Lambs,’ a single poem that is a paean to water moving by anaphora, like water itself, repeating and seducing the ear with iambs. The poems of Loss/Less create a music no reader will be able to resist.”
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