Watch video readings of the poems, On Celebrations, Fledglings, and For the Ever-Optimisitic Cat, from the collection.
“The poems of a man who has assembled his own house from the matter that lies beyond enclosure. And then, through language and observation,learned to live and thrive in it.” —Daniel Halpern, founder of Ecco and Antaeus, and author of Something Shiny
“These tender, strange, and beautiful glimpses of nature contain a delightful blend of artistry and dappled light.” —Diane Ackerman, author of A Natural History of the Senses
“Rosen is a poet of almost infinite promise, who combines light-handedness and depth.” — Liz Rosenburg, New York Times Book Review
In his first book of poetry in twenty years, Michael J. Rosen captures life in the foothills of the Appalachians. Every Species of Hope: Georgics, Haiku, and Other Poems uses a variety of poetic forms, as well as Rosen’s own pen-and-ink drawings, to give voice to the predicaments of living among other creatures who share a plot of land we think we claim as home. The poems are an attempt at homeostasis: that balancing act every creature works at every hour of every day—a way of living peacefully, expending the right energy in the most productive ways, avoiding or deflecting trouble, gravitating toward sources of fulfillment and contentment.
At the center of this book is a suite of poems inspired by Virgil’s Georgics, or “poems of pastoral instruction.” In Rosen’s case, he is more the student than the teacher. Likewise, five short sections of haiku continue his meditation on—or mediation of—art and nature. As he has written, “Haiku provides a brief and mirror-like calm in the choppy waters—in the undertow—of current events: a stillness in time where more than our singular lives can be reflected.”
Illustrated with two dozen pages from the author’s own journal, Every Species of Hope is the consummation of decades of observation, humility, and awe.
Michael J. Rosen is the author, editor, or illustrator of a wide variety of more than 135 books for both adults and children that includes humor, fiction, poetry, picture books, anthologies, cookbooks, and a full-length play based on his award-winning picture book, Elijah’s Angel.
His poetry for adults has been collected in three prior volumes, A Drink at the Mirage (Princeton University Press, 1985), Traveling in Notions: The Stories of Gordon Penn (University of S. Carolina Press, 1996), and Telling Things (Harcourt Brace, 1997).
About A Drink at the Mirage, Southern Humanities Review wrote: “…exercises of wit, insight, and heart-rending emotion that juxtapose the fantastic in life with the everyday.…Perhaps it is this ability to inspire others to right action that makes Mr. Rosen’s poems so personal and yet so far-reaching.”
About Traveling in Notions: The Stories of Gordon Penn, the poet Robert Philips wrote, “Circumscribed and uplifted by mortality, the poems bear testimony to the blessedness of outreach to others.” And novelist Peter DeVries said, “a kind of between-the-lines suggestiveness that is [Rosen’s] own personal brand of complexity, avoiding obviousness on the one hand and, on the other, the overly cerebral obliquity that mars so much contemporary poetry.” “Rosen’s mature, sane, witty, elliptical, and wise voice…rises to moments, even to whole poems, of a Horatian dignity,” wrote novelist and memoirist Reynolds Price about Telling Things. Similarly, poet Mark Doty offered these words: “Hard-won, alive with formal and emotional intelligence, the humanity of Telling Things is matched only by its grace.”
Additionally, his three books of haiku for younger readers have received seven starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and Publishers’ Weekly, as well as an Ohioana Library Book Award. The Library also bestowed Michael with their Children’s Book Career Medal.
Individual poems have also appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic, Yale Review, Prairie Schooner, Witness, Southwest Review, Paris Review, The New Criterion, Kenyon Review, The New Republic, Ohio Journal, Grand Street, Salmagundi, Iowa Review, and some 75 other magazines since 1981 when he received his MFA in poetry from Columbia University.
For over two decades he has lived on a farm in the foothills of Appalachia, just east of Columbus where he served for nearly twenty years as literary director of The Thurber House, a cultural center in James’s restored boyhood home.
For more about Michael, visit his Website: www.michaeljrosen.com