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The Archival Birds
Melissa Kwasny

[Read Sample Poem]

ISBN 0-9657177-6-3
Paper, 65 pages,
$12.00 (Free Shipping)

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." —Susan Griffin

" '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 ways—and awarenesses—of 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." —Sandra Alcosser

"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
offering nothing.

Because Earth, who can
never meet with Famine,
made a pact with Famine.
As emptiness fills a cup,
so she began her neglect.

[from "Erysichthon"]

© 2000 by Melissa Kwasny
The Archival Birds
First published inSonoma Mandala