The Map of Eternity
by Wally Swist
Running throughout Wally Swist's numerous poems and publications is clear evidence of his lifelong dedication to observing the natural world. This practice in turn has influenced his extraordinary sense of perception and vision, so clearly at work in this collection, tested in all facets of life, from the most mundane ("Mall Walker") to the natural ("Ode to the Holyoke Range") to the political ("Ringmaster of the Ridiculous") to the eternal ("A Mystical Unfoldment"). Swist's powers of observation have led him to see the threads that connect all of it, and that is precisely the point . . . those threads are "The Map of Eternity" where we are "mesmerized with wonder" and "in awe of the wonder of what is."
POETRY / General
ISBN: 978-1-947067-58-5 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
Released October 2018
Wally Swist’s books of poetry include Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love (Southern Illinois University Press, 2012), selected by Yusef Komunyakaa as the co-winner of the 2011 Crab Orchard Series Open Poetry Competition; The Daodejing: A New Interpretation, with David Breeden and Steven Schroeder (Lamar University Literary Press, 2015); and Candling the Eggs (Shanti Arts, 2017). He has also published books of prose, including Singing for Nothing: Selected Nonfiction as Literary Memoir (The Operating System, 2018) and On Beauty: Essays, Reviews, Fiction, and Plays (Adelaide Books, 2018). His work has appeared in many publications, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Appalachia, Commonweal, Garrison Keillor’s Writers Almanac, North American Review, Poetry Daily, Rattle, and Sunken Garden Poetry, 1992-2011 (Wesleyan University Press, 2012). Swist makes his home in South Amherst, Massachusetts.
“Wally Swist has given us poems whose sensitive simplicity is married to an aesthetic and philosophical sensibility, poems that show us a way of turning our daily lives in the direction of basic, life-enhancing values.”
“In Swist’s world, analogies pull the disparate events of our lives together, and help us to investigate and see the deep interconnectedness between the mundane and the divine; between the world of humankind and the natural world to which we all belong. Swist has a Chinese poet’s sensibility: geese, a hawk, a dead owl, a bear, and sunflowers are all here; so is the political world where bullies bully and rulers misrule. All here, all seen, all interconnected. Swist’s moral vision keeps the world, in all its ugliness and beauty, right before him. It allows him to say, so truthfully, so gratefully: ‘what delight it is to be human, to have newsprint on our fingers.’”
“Any regular fan and reader of Wally Swist’s wonderful and varied poetry knows what a talented and perceptive naturalist he is, how his work is highly influenced by haiku and full of surprises, and how he is a wise observer who always dares to raise the important questions. . . . Throughout this excellent and entertaining collection, he celebrates ‘the wonder in living life.’”
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