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Meditative and richly written, this collection of poems by Kathy Fagan takes the sycamore as its inspirationand delivers precise, luminous insights on lost love, nature, and the process of recovery.
It is the season of separation & falling / Away,” Fagan writes. And solike the abundance of summer diminishing to winter, and like the bark of the sycamore, which sheds to allow the tree’s expansionthe speaker of these poems documents a painful loss and tenuous rebirth, which take shape against a forested landscape. Black walnuts fall where no one can eat or smell them. Cottonwood sends out feverish signals of pollen. And everywhere are sycamores, informed by Fagan’s scientific and mythological research.
Spellbinding and ambitious, Sycamore is an important new work from a writer whose poems gleam like pearls or slowly burning stones” (Philip Levine).
Kathy Fagan is the author of four previous collections, including the National Poetry Series selection The Raft and the Vassar Miller Prize winner Moving & St Rage. Her work has appeared in the Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Slate, Field, Ploughshares, New Republic, and Missouri Review, among other literary magazines. She teaches at Ohio State University, where she is also the poetry editor of OSU Press, and advisor to The Journal.