For nearly five decades, award-winning poet Brendan Galvin has written about the birds of the tidal flats, woods, and marshes around his Cape Cod home and on islands in the North Atlantic. He knows their field marks, habits, and songs, and his work demonstrates an obvious fascination with them. Whirl Is King gathers forty-three of his bird poems about herons, owls, shorebirds, warblers, raptors, wrens, and other exotic visitors blown in by wind and storm.
Seen from various angles and stratagems, Galvin's migrants and locals are always in motion, acting and acted upon, sometimes predatory, sometimes possessing mythic qualities. In tones ranging from the elegiac to the hilarious, these poems inhabit the overlapping borders of human and avian life: "not to salute such / charity of song / though it be plain as / thumbsqueaks on clear windowpanes, / not to say their names, / and the shadow of death passes / across our tongues." Whirl Is King features Galvin's hallmark descriptive powers and verbal music on full display and demonstrates his talent as a contemporary poet.
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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