The scariest sentence in the English language is brief, threatening, and hopeful. It is deceptive, simple, and as common as water: anything is possible. This second collection by Steve Scafidi is haunted by the possible and "the bells of the verb to be" that "ring-a-ding-ding calling us / to the holy dark of this first / warm night of Spring." When anything is possible, Scafidi finds, horror is as likely as delight. In poems both meditative and defiant he mourns the eventual loss of all that we love and finds consolation, wherever possible, in the rhythm of common words and "the sacred guesswork" of the imagination. Here is the dangerous world we all have in common. Here is a brief and hopeful book.
Steve Scafidi is the author of the poetry collection Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer, winner of the Larry Levis Reading Prize. His poem "The Egg Suckers" received the 2005 James Boatwright Prize from Shenandoah literary magazine. He is a cabinetmaker and lives with his family in Summit Point, West Virginia.
Advance Praise for For Love of Common Words
"Steve Scafidi's poem ‘The Egg Suckers' made me laugh, fidget, and ponder my own path through this omnivorous world. It reminds us that things are constantly happening beneath our very feet, that a secret history is being forged that we'll never read about in the newspapers. Like Theodore Roethke, Scafidi describes a nature that is at least as nasty as it is nice and then lets us know that—oops!—we're on the menu, too. Re-reading ‘The Egg Suckers,' I laughed again. And then I made breakfast."—David Kirby
Praise for Steve Scafidi
“Scafidi deftly confronts both death and disaster in a manner that is as hilarious as it is serious. . . . In Scafidi’s universe, it’s all right to be a little off-center, because it is in the common, in the everyday that he finds dignity and communion.”—Karla Huston, Library Journal
“This poet engages life on multiple levels—not complacent in the presence of suffering and not ignoring injustice, but open to the possibilities of grace, of beauty, of atonement.”—Philip Belcher, Southern Quarterly
“When I tell you [Scafidi] is a poet of impressive reach and Elizabethan exuberance, you may take me at my word. Imaginatively adroit, formally outfitted without necessarily being formally complex, his work inhabits a large cognitive and imagistic space where ostensible subjects—snakes and weasels, a burning truck, the spruce front of a violin—grow into emanations or strands of implication.”
—David Rigsbee, Cortland Review
“Scafidi’s poetry . . . musically and vividly reminds readers that creation is full of delights both large and small. It reminds us that life is short, that death is inevitable, and that the only mature responses to these hard facts are to be aware of beauty, meaning, pleasure, to take nothing for granted, to care deeply, and celebrate while we can. These are realizations that can quietly transform a life.”
—Jeff Mann, Appalachian Journal
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