Brendan Galvin has been hailed as one of the very best of contemporary nature poets. In his thirteenth book, Galvin responds with exuberant directness to the extravagances encountered in landscapes and people, birds and animals, flowers and vegetables, weather and seas, both in his native Cape Cod and in Ireland and the islands of the Outer Hebrides. This poet leads us far from the familiar, and we are likely to follow along because he has earned our trust, in large ways and small. His wise and gentle poems divulge a beguiling moral dimension in their intimate, playful exploration of the wonders of the world. Resounding with the musicality of the American language, Place Keepers is a volume that readers will keep nearby to return to for reassurance and refreshment.
We had toughened up
in that rejects’ underworld the chickweed
flourished over. Now you have drawn us
into September, volunteers caught out
in our proletarian jackets, but don’t
misread us. Whether as slave food
or aphrodisiac, we have always been
in politics, and though never educated
like the artichoke, or fopped-up
like certain squashes, we can be multiplied
by anyone, prepared more ways than bread.
You are tired of living when you’re tired of us.
From “The Potatoes Have a Word to Say” published in Place Keepers: Poems by Brendan Galvin. Copyright © 2003 by Brendan Galvin. All rights reserved.
BRENDAN GALVIN is the author of sixteen poetry books, including eight published by LSU Press, of which Habitat (2005) was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has received many other honors, including the O. B. Hardison Prize from the Folger Shakespeare Library. He lives in Truro, Massachusetts.
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