Wisconsin Poetry series
Ronald Wallace and Sean Bishop, Series Editors
“In meditations ranging from a child's incomprehension of a father's violence to the suffering of those cast out for their sexual desires to the horror of mass shootings, the poems of Blood Aria pulse with an urgency that is both anguished and exalted. And transformative. To experience poems as passionate, as charged with wisdom as these is to enter into a kind of spiritual quest.”
In his powerful debut, Christopher Nelson examines the progenitors and forms of violence in the twenty-first century, from Cain and Abel to the damming of rivers. In everyday moments, spare poems depict pain with visceral sharpness, meditating on hate crimes against gay men, a father's abuse of his son, and children murdered in their schools.
There is loneliness in this poetry—the empty gazebo, the blinking red light of a radio tower, the sad face of a jack-o-lantern—but there is also redemption. We see glimpses of the speaker's quest to find and know God, seeking answers everywhere, from Spanish cathedrals filled with holy relics to withered winter fields. The poems of Blood Aria ruminate on the sacrament of passing one day to the next, asking how much it matters what we believe.
a love replete with boundaries
and the means to transgress them
the awful mystery of a boat
before there ever was a sea
grant me that possibility
I, like you, am still being made
—Excerpt from “Pacific Cliffs”
“An unflinching look atbigotries and violence seeded in western history, and it intertwines this with personal traumas, grief, and the winding path of finding one's way. These masterfully wrought poems are as fierce as they are wise—they do not comfort but fortify. Nelson's transporting voice will stay with me for a long time.”
—Ye Chun, author of Lantern Puzzle
LC: 2020036113 PS
96 pp. 6 x 9