“[The] language . . . feels almost ancient solely by the skill with which Baker uses it.”―Los Angeles Review of Books
In this masterful new work by “the most moving and expansive poet to come out of the American Midwest since James Wright” (Marilyn Hacker), David Baker constructs a layered natural history of his beloved Midwest and traces the complex story of human habitation from family and village life to the evolving nature of work and the mysterious habitats of the heart.
At the center of Scavenger Loop is a sustained investigation of cycles and the natural recycling of things, and a discovery that even out of the discarded and the lost may come rebirth and renewal. In the process Baker reveals how everything bears the potential to be both invasive and life-giving: plants that beautify and conquer, chemicals that heal and destroy, words that mislead and instruct.
Widely praised for his “impeccable formalism” (Booklist), Baker pushes to new stylistic methods, moving fluidly between unity and disorder, working at times in sustained narratives and intricate syllabics, at other times in fragments, cross-outs, and erasures. These poems praise and sing but are also clear-eyed in their documentation of destruction, the loss of human livelihood and natural habitat, the spreading threat of agri-business and unchecked development. From eco-poetics to the erotic, Scavenger Loop measures the dimensions of the pastoral and the elegy in contemporary lyric poetry.
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