Working in the Birdhouse by Justin Evans



Wonderful poet and fellow blogger Justin Evans kindly asked me blurb his newly-released chapbook, Working in the Birdhouse, from FootHills Publishing. The finished book arrived late last week and it's one of the most gorgeous looking chaps I've ever seen. Beautiful paper, a great typeface, the string binding and the wonderful cover image (above). It doesn't seem right to review a book I've blurbed, so I'll offer up that blurb and one of my favorite poems from the collection. This chapbook is a must!

There is a restless energy behind the poems in Justin Evans' Working in the Birdhouse -- from the unsettled birds that weave and wing their way through the pages to the narrator's treks through the topography of interstates, deserts and even the Garden of Eden. Evans' curiosity about how humans respond and coexist with nature and each other are at the heart of this well-crafted collection. -- Collin Kelley

Over Christmas Break, I Walk to Camden

You might think I walked all that way
to see the home where Whitman died,
but I actually came to see the jail
across the street.

I wanted to watch the women stand
on the sidewalk, send love notes
via semaphore to guys like Terry and Alan
who forgot to pay their fines, or Maxi who wrote
one bad check too many at the A&P.

Theirs is a love spelled out
in gestures, a silence that is forced
to transcend the moment, last them
anywhere from six to eighteen months,
a love born long after the death of Walt.

To tell you the truth, the walk home
taught me more poetry than my books.
I was the new girl, learning to sign
from the women with only weeks to go,
practicing along the turnpikes and cafes
marking the progress of my own return.

-- Justin Evans, from Working in the Birdhouse


Comments

Justin Evans said…
Collin:

Thank you for the kind words and the plug for my chapbook!

I am very happy you like the Camden poem. It's not one that I would have pegged to be on anyone's fave list
M. RuPere said…
that's a great poem - plus walking in Camden gets extra points!
Collin said…
It is a great poem, one that stood out as I was reading the chap early on.
Maggie May said…
i really enjoy the poem, and nice 'blurbing'...
Kelly in Nebraska said…
I've loved that poem for some time now. I am off to order two copies of the chap.
Tilt Press said…
It *IS* a beautiful chap - I just received it a few days ago.
Kelly in Nebraska said…
I don't know why my link never shows up when I use the name/URL option. I'm at www.KellyMadiganErlandson.com
in case anyone wanted to know.
Lisa Allender said…
Hi there...LOVE the poem. Love Whitman, did not know 'bout the jail across the street. Interesting perspective in the "voice" of that poem. Quite touching.
I'll be ordering the chapbook from Justin Evans...

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