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Brutal and tender, Adamshick’s spare poems recount a son’s unsentimental and powerful love for his mother, while contemplating, in the wake of her death, what it is to be truly alive.
About the Author
Carl Adamshick is the author of Curses and Wishes (LSU Press, 2011), Saint Friend (McSweeney’s, 2014), Footprints (Wiesedruck, 2017), Receipt (Lost Horse Press, 2017), and Birches (Four Way Books, 2019). He has won a number of awards, including the 1998 Oregon Literary Arts Award, and the Oregon Book Award in 2011 and 2015. He has had writing residencies at Lewis and Clark College, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Lannan Foundation. His writing has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Harvard Review, and The Columbia Journal. He works as an Editor at Tavern Books.
“This book wrecks me, and calms me, and is an apologia for love, its intimacies made into art. It is also deeply human, arguing in poems of enormous beauty that ‘we share what it means to live’ when ‘it's evening in the box of the world.’” -- Catherine Barnett
“Carl Adamshick´s new poems watch over his dying mother. Ornament has been stripped from this collection called Birches. Need drives the poems a need to tell the truth, a need to fix in time what can never be fixed: life. Adamshick´s great talent and concision with his art bear down on every line. The poems say: ‘I´m alive./I find that undeniable/and my mother is what we have come/ to define as dead./ She remains in that noun/ like the moon remains itself.’ At times it feels Adamshick is picking up where James Wright left off: Midwestern yet worldly, transcendent, ecstatic rather than confessional. I am grateful for the book. I marvel how the work holds and honors this mother for us, refining her into something genuine and lasting: what other art does that more clearly than poetry?” -- Spencer Reece
"...'His bicycle/ black on the grass/ black on the towpath/ one pedal dug into the earth/ black in the fallen leaves.' Adamshick’s poems are most compelling in moments like this, in which an image stands on its own, generating possibilities for interpretation...."
— Publishers Weekly