Preface

Ice and Gaywings, by Kenneth Pobo, was the first-place winner of the 2011 qarrtsiluni poetry chapbook contest, selected by Luisa A. Igloria. (Read the anouncement post.)

Ice and Gaywings was simultaneously published online here and in a print edition from Phoenicia Publishing and Amazon.com. Electronic versions for e-readers were subsequently released.

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(videopoem for “Tom Kessler, Stockton Island, 1887”)

The experience I value most in reading this collection is the way its language (never romanticized) and tone (never overwrought) allows me to settle with increasing depth into the poems’ rhythms and precise observations —about the natural world, now only partially reclaimable from so many forms of artifice; about the intrusions of contemporary urban life and culture; about histories older than us that haunt and shadow place. And finally, its urgent reminder to listen, look, and learn to dwell again.
Luisa A. Igloria, author of Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (2014 May Swenson Prize) and 12 other books

These poems are brilliant meditations. With a sharp, ironic eye, the poet takes you to centuries of evolution reflected in the beauty of nature rapidly dying from carbon pollution known as climate change. Pobo is keenly aware of the end of nature as we know it. Neither sentimental nor didactic, he pays homage as a witness to the fragile details of all that is vanishing forever: turtles, hummingbirds, minnows, lilies, ferns, forests, herons… He allows you to embrace them all with the understanding that they have a right to be here with us, to exist. This luminous collection is a keeper!
Jacqueline Marcus, author of Close to the Shore and editor of ForPoetry.com

Ken Pobo’s poems are filled with closely observed details of a natural world few of us have time for anymore. Like Emily Dickinson, Pobo presents a complex vision: nature, his poems powerfully show, is able to restore us, but it may also disturb us with its strangeness or lethal power. Profound, humorous, and surprising, these poems are well worth reading.
Michael Cocchiarale, Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing, Widener University