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.
Radavich's poetry is adventurous and wide-ranging. He is the author of Slain Species (Court Poetry, ), By the Way: Poems over the Years (Buttonwood, 1998), and Greatest Hits (Pudding House, 2000). His plays have been performed across the London U.S., including six Off-Off-Broadway productions, and in Europe. America Bound: An Epic for Our Time (Plain View, 2007) narrates 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. U.S.
Radavichhas 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 . 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. Iceland
The Countries We Live In. What
a wonderful title. Of course it means
geographical places like
“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
—Fred Chappell, former Poet Laureate
Radavichreveals 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 Belfastto sun-kissed Corfu, Radavichsavors the beauty of nature and the mysteries of human nature. From our wheat-gold Midwest to , 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 Pawleys Island 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
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