Over the course of more than four decades, contemporary American poet Jean Valentine has written eleven books of stunning, spirit-inflected poetry. This collection of essays, assembled over several years by Kazim Ali and ECU’s John Hoppenthaler, brings together twenty-six pieces on all stages of Valentine’s career by a range of poets, scholars, and admirers.
The poems included in The Rabbits Could Sing delve farther into territory that Amber Flora Thomas visited in her prize-winning book Eye of Water, showing even more clearly how “the seam has been pulled so far open on the past” that “the dress will never close.” Here, the poem acts not as a body in itself but as a garb drawn around the here and now. Loss, longing, and violation are sustenance to a spirit jarred from its animal flesh and torn apart, unsettling the reader with surprising images that are difficult to forget. The poems in The Rabbits Could Sing invite the reader into a world thick with the lush bounty of summer in the far north, where the present is never far from the shadow of the past.
ECU Professor Liza Wieland: “The Columbus School for Girls” in Stories Wanting Only To Be Heard: Six Decades of Fiction from The Georgia Review. Athens, Ga: University of Georgia Press. 2012.
ECU Professor Liza Wieland: “Apparition” Sou’wester, IL Edwardsville. vo. 38, no. 1 fall 2009.
ECU Professor Liza Wieland: “Body and Engine” The Normal School California State University, Fresno vol. 2, issue 2 fall 2009.
ECU Professor Liza Wieland: “Quickening” New South Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA vol. 2, no. 2, fall 2009
Speakers in Anticipate the Coming Reservoir return to and survey terrain that was once their own and find it strangely defamiliarized. As they process the changes—changes they generally see as suspect—these characters seek, and sometimes find, something like balance between nostalgia and terra incognita. This collection may be, as Natasha Trethewey writes, “his nostos,” but it is also John Hoppenthaler’s paen to existential resolve as it is exhibited by souls who possess, as David Baker describes it, “all our wounded, belated psyches.”
ECU Professor Liza Wieland: “Nightingale” Indiana Review no. 30, vol 1, spring 2008.
ECU Professor Liza Wieland: “Slip, Out, Back, Here” vol Prize 2007. inBridport & Company, Sansom, England, 2007.
By turns playful and hypnotic, sly and tender, the fourteen stories in Luke Whisnant’s Down in the Flood celebrate the particular and the peculiar, the private and the public, the beautiful and the not-so-beautiful moments of our daily lives. Evocatively rendered, these inventive tales are laced with humor, yet bittersweet.
Down in the Flood. Knoxville: Iris P, 2006.