Cover painting by Gennie DeWeese / www.deweeseart.com
These poems capture wonderfully the complex and rich interconnection between
the human mind and heart and nature. A moving and beautiful collection."
" 'I've had to learn / to live inside a tree's awareness,' writes Melissa
Kwasny. And with this astonishing first collection of poems, Kwasny teaches
us the waysand awarenessesof her beloved trees, birds, and grasses. A true
seer, Kwasny pays rapturous, sorrowing homage to all she encounters: the
vanishing songbirds, the moody eucalyptus and whispering yellow pine,
snowmelt and rain, granite and 'stars / caught on the jagged lips of the
alder.' Leading us'past history and [our] own sense of loss'into the
'incurable' universe of living things, Archival Birds is a harrowing,
sensual, joyous book." —Rick Newby
"The way hair becomes woven into a bird's nest, or a human voice enters a
bird's song, this is a book of entwinement, the language of which is quiet and
informed, moving through the reader the way minerals enter the blood
stream--from the ground to the tongue--circulating powerfully within the brain."
"Finally, a first collection worthy of special note. . .
turns a fine-tuned lyricism to the natural world and our precarious place in it."
—Dennis Loy Johnson, mobylives.com
They say it has a body
which it wrapped around him,
pale as grape meat,
translucent, like the fat
sucked off the bone.
They say it has a land
between the Black Sea
and the Caspian,
that it was Caucasian
and had an original home.
But this is putting a face
where there is none.
Anyone who has seen
the scar like a rope
on the throat,
the toothless in bars,
the one who paints herself
white in madness, knows:
Famine walks past them
Because Earth, who can
never meet with Famine,
made a pact with Famine.
As emptiness fills a cup,
so she began her neglect.
© 2000 by Melissa Kwasny
The Archival Birds
First published inSonoma Mandala