Thursday, 15 October 2020

Gravity Well by Marc Rahe BLOG TOUR #GravityWell @rescuepress Guest Review @josephsyard @RandomTTours

 



Poetry. In GRAVITY WELL, Marc Rahe's incisive third collection, the poems beckon readers through an ever-shifting series of landscapes, drawing our gaze across a dynamic tableau-an octopus wearing a sweater, a white sky over the bridge we're standing on, flowers pressed into a forgotten book-as a means of revealing the most particular thrills and anxieties of the human condition. Unafraid and unwavering, careful and concerned, GRAVITY WELL propels its reader through the imagined apertures of the universe one striking image at a time, leaving us ocularly magnified in a world now seen anew. A singular voice in American poetry, Rahe deftly centers the body in relation to ailments such as love, decay, aging, friendship, and grief. His powerful, meditative plea is resounding: Earth, turn me.

Marc Rahe's luminous poems find grace in acts of intentional remembrance, in turning back to sing 'what can be seen / looking behind.' The speaker's world resembles our own fraught moment-fallen, divided-but never numb. These poems hum with moments of transcendence, between body and weather, air and breath, between today's pain and the deep wounds of the past. In precise, lucid lyrics, this voice insists that our capacity to feel is what binds us, ecstatically, to our planet and to one another.-Kiki Petrosino

Ever since his first book, THE SMALLER HALF, was published, I've kept my eyes open for new work by Marc Rahe, and whenever new work has come, I've celebrated, actually celebrated. No poet writing in English today is better at making poems stuffed full of being and of things seen, things heard, things touched, things tasted, and things thought hard about nonetheless quiet. And yet, though they approach silence, these poems resonate, and, like Rahe's previous work, they will resonate for years.-Shane McCrae






Gravity Well by Marc Rahe is published on 20 October 2020 by Rescue Press. As part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour today, I am delighted to welcome guest reviewer Angi Holden to my blog to share her thoughts about the book.


You can find Angi on Twitter at @josephsyard







Angi's Review of Gravity Well

At a recent poetry awards ceremony the judge remarked that it was difficult to read individual poems without an awareness of the ‘strange times’ we live in. The mention of physical touch, or meetings with friends or lovers, has acquired an added poignancy over the last few months. So it is with this collection of poems from Marc Rahe, where at an Alumni Weekend, he watches students cross the campus, recalling “the tree where we leaned and kissed” and the shared cigarette “your lipstick made another faint kiss around”. Reading these descriptions now seems not only like glancing back into the author’s past, but also into a time we collectively think of as ‘before’.

The passage of time is emphasised by the arrangement of the poems into sections named after the cycles of the moon – waxing crescent, waxing gibbous, waning gibbous, waning crescent. Rahe turns a descriptive eye on this night sky, with images of “inexhaustible darkness” and “stars that didn’t move correctly”, the wanderers that we now call planets. His observation feels strongest when he explores his encounters with creatures and plants: how the “melting snow reveals the tunnel made by a field mouse”, how a “centipede crawls over the tissue in my wastebasket”, how a bee flies into the flower of a zucchini plant prickled with dew.

This is a varied collection. It ranges from references to ill health (an incision for orthopaedic surgery, a visit to a phlebotomist, an excursion in a wheelchair) and its subsequent mental and physical ‘scar tissue’, through personal loss, to a celebration of the natural world. The forms too are varied, with prose poems sitting alongside more formal stanzas of couplets and tercets. It is a collection I found myself dipping into, with a phrase becoming lodged in my mind only to surface later. Like the pressed flower Rahe describes finding between the pages of a directory, or the lost earring discovered in a jacket pocket.

Angi Holden - October 2020 






Marc Rahe received an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His poems have appeared in Gutcult, iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, jubilat, notnostrums, Painted Bride Quarterly, Petri Press, Sixth Finch, and other literary journals. Marc lives in Iowa City and works for a human service agency. His first collection of poems, The Smaller Half, was published by Rescue Press in 2010.









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