This Is Not About Birds by Nick Ripatrazone
88 pages, poetry. Published by Gold Wake Press on 9.1.2012
Nick will be reading from the book at Rutgers-Newark on Thursday, September 27, at 5:30 pm.
Praise for the book:
From Minnesota to Barcelona, garage sales to a farmers market, Nick Ripatrazone’s poems say what we miss the chance to say in our daily lives—history teacher, I know your secrets; fisherman, they’ll return; bird, I see you. These poems offer instructions on how to remove a hook from a trout’s mouth, remedies for rattlesnake bites, and the language we might need to heal each other. “Trust my words” Ripatrazone writes. Quit your tents and pray. God hears us best where the snakes still threaten.
A variety of precisions interlock in Nick Ripatrazone’s This Is Not About Birds. His diction is shard-sharp, his sense of line finely honed—but what strikes most is sentiment’s curious edge, merciless and merciful at once. Ripatrazone writes poems that work back to one of poetry’s most romantic purposes: to give value to those people on the periphery, to objects discarded, to the detritus of memory and childhood. Here is a poet who knows a poetry of the common cannot be a common poetry, and here are poems whose various precisions are a form of taking care of what, and who, fills them.
Nick Ripatrazone’s This Is Not About Birds reinvents Americana as not just an artifact, but an ecosystem both delicate and forceful. These poems are haunted by the presence of vacant spaces and their former inhabitants, by relics of past lives and glimmering moments of potential, some realized, some vanished. Ripatrazone pays homage to predator and prey, to the town and its most humble inhabitants, with a compassionate eye that captures the ordinary and the sublime.
"Nick Ripatrazone charms with his playful imagery but terrifies with his rich vision and remarkable discoveries skimming just beneath the surface of these very fine poems. Every line guides the reader forward with a palpable tension and an exquisite attention to what memories may hold, “savor[ing] the sounds like good caramel.” In This Is Not About Birds, you’re sure to find a wealth of spirit in these poems that capture the often surprising mappings of mind, body, and history."
Nick Ripatrazone is the author of two books of poetry, Oblations and This Is Not About Birds (Gold Wake Press 2012), and a forthcoming book of literary criticism, The Fine Delight: Postconciliar Catholic Literature (Cascade Books 2013). His fiction has appeared in Esquire and The Kenyon Review and has received honors from ESPN: The Magazine. His website is www.nickripatrazone.com