Life on a small midwestern farm is the genesis of many of the poems in DEAD HORSES. Unsentimental and realistic, they celebrate an enduring involvement with horses (riding, breeding, foaling, and racing) and offer a tough-minded look at the vagaries of rural existence....
|Number of Pages||:||58 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Dead Horses Reviews
‘Dead Horses’ is only an excuse. It’s an excuse to create a collection of extremely powerful poems set against the background of rural life in general and horse farming in Northern Illinois in particular. The more I read of Joan Colby’s work, the more I’d buy any one of her anthologies blind. Colby is dark, passionate, observant, emphatic and one of the most gifted and prolific poets of our generation. ‘Dead Horses’ is another Colby MUST HAVE and will surprise you with its power.
Those who live with animals live close to the raw truths of existence—living, suffering, death. Farmers are tied to the earth in similar elemental ways. In this book of poems Joan Colby pulls no punches. These are hard-hitting poems, yet they are graced by a use of language that is both surprising and beautiful.
From the BookOX TEAM AT GARFIELD FARMPaired shortly after birth.By two months bearingThe smallest yoke,Learning the commandsWhich nigh ox and off oxUnderstand differently,Always the same position,Yoked or stalled.Nigh ox to the right.Off ox to the left.Long horns intactTo keep the wooden yokeIn place. ControlledBy voice or motion.Obedient and calm, their hugeBodies compliant to plow,Wagon, or log chain.The ox driver points outWhat fables those Westerns were:Wagon trains circlingTheir handsome horse hitches.It was oxenThat opened the west,Able to live on almost nothing,To unmoor the mired cart,Plod all day in patience.No special breed, justCattle that were taughtTo work. These two are ruddyAnd boxlike with fleshy ivory nostrilsAnd the placid eyes of servants.Each has one horntip screwed with brass.Each has a name: Nigh Ox—Off Ox.They think as an ensemble,Mirror images of toil.If one dies, the other is useless.ROADKILLDead skunk on the road.One hundred degrees, the stink is bad.The county should be outTo scrape it up, but after two daysWe take our shovels to it.Traveling north, another skunkCreased in the highway. Twin kittensPawing helplessly at her.The kids beg us to stop.We explain why not and drive on.Everywhere are deer, muskrats,Raccoons, possums, cats, even birdsFlying too low or alightingOn something already killed,Blacktop littered as ifFigments of imaginationHad spun off to sizzleUnder a July sun.Anesthetized, we hardly comprehendWhat these clumps of fur and sinew were,And we don’t much care.Not like the man, a week ago,Who, seeing ducklings on the tollway,Left his car running and rushedTo their rescue. He was hitAlmost at once, then hit again.Roadkill. Today, a smearGreyish, flattened. We keep going.
In Dead Horses, her tenth collection of poetry, Joan Colby offers 26 poems focusing on death and loss within agrarian settings. As the collection’s title suggests, horses will be a motif in the book. The collection opens with the title poem structured in the demanding form of the sestina. Of special note are the words Colby chooses to repeat: dream, horses, bleak, light, lace, winter. While she takes some liberties with the repetition of these words, the poem functions as an overture, announcing the subjects and themes of poems to come, and when the collection is read from beginning to end a musical continuity is obvious.One might initially suspect that with such a title, the mood of the book is bleak, dealing as it does with these sorrowful subjects; however, these poems do not give the impression of hopelessness and futility. The attitude regarding death is one of acceptance of a natural process, even when death results from accidental means, as several poems recount such instances. As anyone who has spent any time on a farm knows, death is a regular part of life.In any poetry collection, certain poems stand out because of their well-executed composition and powerful effect. In Dead Horses, Colby is at her best in the longer poems: “Dead Horses,” “The Lunar Year,” “Farming,” and “Two Deaths.” These four poems alone provide depth and complexity that invite multiple readings for the audience to savor the poetic experience. “Lunar Year,” in particular, is an ambitious poem in twelve sections, with each section containing the word moon preceded by a modifier. This is not to say, however, that the “shorter” poems are somehow weaker; all of the poems carry their own weight, achieve their distinction. The poems do not blur together but rather contribute to an overall effect of profundity.While writing tightly crafted poems with a precision that fellow poets will no doubt appreciate, Colby also creates poems that are readable for a broader audience, even for those less familiar with some of the agrarian subjects and settings. In this book, the following adage is true: specificity generates universality. Dead Horses is ultimately a collection that demonstrates excellence without sacrificing accessibility.Highly recommended.
We are the publisher, so all of our authors get five stars from us.Excerpts
Dark, resonating poetry. Read it.