The Broadkill River Press

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Rock Taught


Poetry by David McAleavey

It’s hard to describe the pleasure that comes from reading David McAleavey’s poetry, that wonderful, unstable union of the cerebral with the corporeal, the frisson present in every line. He says, “Yogis call it ‘Breath of Fire’: the spinal,/painful thrill bashing into brain/from tailbone, winging back down/and up again.” The poems follow the breath of fire that is consciousness itself. In Rock Taught, we wander through the poet’s life, follow him on his “daily route” to work, or into an abandoned house, or on his visits to a museum in Germany or a strip club in Harlem. Always restless, he discovers in his poems a place within himself, where, as he says, “something shifts and shunts me / into the predicament of not knowing / how to praise, how to exclaim, / and a way appears.” His way is to confront the ordinary and let it prompt in him the unexpected exclamations that are these poems with their gift for feeling fully the inexplicable world around him. They breathe dark fire.


– Dana Roeser (author of Beautiful Motion and In the Truth Room )

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