West of the Backstory

West of the Backstory
Tim Hawkins
Fernwood Press


The poems of Tim Hawkins range widely in geography, tone, and style in search of the extraordinary in the things we take for granted, guided always by the desire to be both in the moment and apart from it at the same time. To read these poems is to move slowly, serenely into some distant and exotic place - yet find oneself in the comfort of home. Hawkins' lines - characterized by deftness of phrasing, skillful craft, freshness and impact of imagery, boldness and penetration of thought, and by engagement with an impressive range of subject, form, and mood - will leave an imprint on your heart.

This extremely generous and lucid collection by a consummate poet celebrates "quotidian milestones" and our own evanescence. Elegiac in tone, but leavened by welcome humor, Tim Hawkins' West of the Backstory admirably focuses on "creating light for its lonely/old sake." -Arnold Johnston, author of Where We're Going, Where We've Been and Swept Away

Tim Hawkins has traveled far and returned to tell us what he saw. His outward journeys find a parallel in his equally exotic inward wanderings, in visionary reveries of the people and places he has loved. In a way these are almost all love poems by a man with a burning passion for existence, fraught though it may be. The intoxicating intersection of inner and outer is where many of them live, mingling the careful observations of the senses with the modifications of memory so that we experience each scene, each character (including his own, about which he is unsparing), from multiple angles and in the completeness of time. Whether he's writing free or formal verse, this approach makes it almost holographic and often quite memorable, as in this brief example, a poem called "What Have I Done?": "No real food or sleep for days- / only doll's head tea in a rusty bucket / brewed with scalding tears." -Kurt Luchs, author of the poetry collection Falling in the Direction of Up and the humor collection It's Funny Until Someone Loses an Eye (Then It's REALLY Funny), both from Sagging Meniscus Press


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