THE COUNTRIES WE LIVE IN

Poems

by David Radavich

 

 


Published by: Main Street Rag Publishing, P.O. Box 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001; (704) 573-2516;

www.mainstreetrag.com/bookstore/product/the-countries-we-live-in


 

This exciting new collection of poems explores the inner and outer geographies of human life.  Not only physical travel but also love and disease, politics and popular culture, whose contours we learn by necessity as we experience the terrains given to us.

About the Author:

David Radavich's poetry is adventurous and wide-ranging. He is the author of Slain Species (Court Poetry, London), By the Way: Poems over the Years (Buttonwood, 1998), and Greatest Hits (Pudding House, 2000).  His plays have been performed across the U.S., including six Off-Off-Broadway productions, and in Europe.  America Bound: An Epic for Our Time (Plain View, 2007) narrates U.S. history from World War II to the present from the perspective of everyday Americans, while Canonicals (Finishing Line, 2009) investigates “love’s hours.”  Middle-East Mezze (Plain View, 2011) explores a troubled yet enchanting part of our world.

 

Radavich has published academic and informal essays on poetry and drama and has read his work in a variety of locations, including Canada, England, Egypt, Germany, Greece, and Iceland.  Winner of numerous awards, he has served as president of The Thomas Wolfe Society and the Charlotte Writers’ Club and is poetry editor of Deus Loci. 

Comment by Tony Abbott:

The Countries We Live In.  What a wonderful title.  Of course it means geographical places like America with its materialism, its politics, its inequalities.  But it also means the human body, that country we inhabit for better or worse, that aging country.  It also means the people we know and love, those whose countries we live in or who live in ours.  I love both the theme and the range of this book, its multitude of countries all of which are crucial to our lives. “Every Day the World Starts Again” the opening poem tells us. The mystery, the complexity of life begins again, and         that, David Radavich tells us, is our task―to live each day as fully as possible in those countries that are given to us to know, to inhabit, to celebrate.                                                                                                                                                       —Anthony S. Abbott, author of If Words Could Save Us

Comment by Fred Chappell:

“I don’t want to take your time / for what is not essential.”  Lean, clean-lined, economical—yes.  But the poems in The Countries We Live In are not minimalist.  They do not evade their subjects; they are not wisps and hints.  Here are piercing observations, wild surmises, pulsing thoughts, “adventure and test,” often with a sharp spice of humor.  David Radavich has discovered the Country of Sudden Insight and has decided to live there.  And thrive.

                                                                                                —Fred Chappell, former Poet Laureate of North Carolina

Comment by Diana Pinckney:

David Radavich reveals The Countries We Live In with an all-seeing and wry eye and tender sensitivity. In this collection of lyrical journeys from such disparate places as war-torn 1975 Belfast to sun-kissed Corfu, Radavich savors the beauty of nature and the mysteries of human nature.  From our wheat-gold Midwest to Pawleys Island, where the “moon pulled down its scythe,” poems examine the splendor and the heartache of our lives, how each day “lovers recover their skin.”  The music that moves these poems is the lonely dance, the human condition his words so honestly portray.  Loss and desire are ever near from sonnets to politics, from the love of guns to objects that “hide us from ourselves.”  With Radavich, we travel the “heady wine of sea and history,” and when we close these pages, we are “heavy with departing” and ready to begin again.                                                         

                                                                                      —Diana Pinckney, author of Alchemy

Reviews of The Countries We Live In:

          “As always, Radavich gives us marvelous lines. It's the kind of collection to turn to if you feel the slightest bit blue. He has a way of looking at the world that's so fresh and engaging. It’s a slim book I keep close at hand.”—Jean Grant, author of The Burning Veil, in Good Reads

          Radavich’s new poetry collection combines refined sensibility with a life-affirming world view.  On one level, the author takes us on a voyage through geographic realms like Charlotte, Pawleys Island, the Great Plains, and Corfu.  On another level, we are invited to travel across time, for instance, to 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and on still another, we exist outside space and time in our own bodies as well as in the capitalist economic and social system.

          Radavich exhibits a strong sense of design in large matters as in details, in the unfolding arrangement of the poems as in the structure of individual works.  His characteristic style relies on 2- or 3-line unrhymed stanzas, with frequent enjambement, that connect the eye to individual words without interrupting the flow from line to line.  The linkage between focus and flux enforces a careful reading. 

          The characteristic Radavich line is at once lapidary and multi-faceted.  Many poems begin with a question: “Can we choose / not to remember?” (“Tenth Anniversary”); “What is this life of things?” (“Materialism”).  In the course of the poem the problem is argumentatively and metaphorically explored, recalling the metaphysical poets.  The pointed conclusions of the poems particularly challenge and surprise the reader. 

          Radavich is no decontructionist or postmodernist.  The rich variety of themes of social engagement and alert sense of what lies beyond literature and language makes that impressively clear. In the tradition of Henry David Thoreau, his perspective of the voyager renders the quotidian strange and the foreign familiar.  Language is not everything, but for the poet it is the means for apprehending the world.  In the end, this book becomes an adventure, a quest that, through the cycles of becoming and leaving behind, marks a new beginning.”―Dieter Schulz, in Trans-Lit2 (excerpt, translated from the German)

 

          “David Radavich, an award-winning poet and playwright, explores a variety of terrains in his book The Countries We Live.  He says he is ‘trying to find words that help make sense of this experience we call living’. . . .  I find his poems most intense when he uses personal references.  Radavich addresses a battle with cancer in two poems, including ‘Lazarus,” where he witnesses, after a time of doubting, ‘miracle enough / how life walks forward.’  When the poet explores the landscape of America, he often takes an ironic view of social issues, asking in ‘Materialism,’ ‘What is this life of things?’  He journeys into ‘Stars and Strife” and reminds us in ‘American Reality Show’ that ‘we need to visit / pain and poverty a while / to answer /who we truly are.’”―Shirley S. Stevens, Time of Singing

 

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