The poems in Nick Norwood’s Eagle & Phenix have the desolate, sun-struck beauty of Edward Hopper’s paintings, and are peopled by figures, lonely but dignified, who might have wandered right out of those paintings into these pages. The book expands ever outward from a childhood spent largely alone, to ancestors and family, a vividly depicted town and its working inhabitants, and a sense of history’s conflagrations—yet a perennial capacity for wonder keeps rising out of the ashes, reminding us that “what survives may bless by simply being here.”
Eagle & Phenix Snake Nation Press (2019)
Text, a limited edition, fine press book: poem by Nick Norwood, images by Erika Adams, Eating Dog Press (2016)
Nick Norwood’s poems in Eagle and Phenix are a superb, evocative melding of perfect restraint with concise but lush detail, of elegiac memory with bittersweet realization. His evocations of time and place, of work once valued and love betrayed, never diminish hope but pay homage to life’s capacity to strengthen and even renew itself at the most broken of places.
~Melissa Pritchard, author of Palmerino and A Solemn Pleasure
“Even if you never cared for rural, or you grew up in a city, (Gravel and Hawk) will change you. The natural world lives within this poet in disciplined poems of comfortable silence bracketing culture cells of country life. There is substance in these reflections. The subjects are rudimentary; the emotions are gravitational fields of honesty.”
~Grace Cavalieri, Washington Independent Review of Books
In Eagle & Phenix, Norwood writes stirringly of the intersection of personal reflection and art, bemused by our need to inscribe the present with our own past. His fascination with time’s gifts and ravages attends intensely to the evolving mysteries of the Other in acutely terse narratives about loved ones, ancestors, and past denizens of Columbus, Georgia, transcribing the “obsolete vernacular” of its landscape and history. With a judicious reticence reminiscent of William Carlos Williams, these poems see into the elliptical life of things with the kind of stark imagery and tonal gradation that make a poem pulse with life, walk off the page, and follow you out of the room down the long, long hallway.
~ J. Allyn Rosser
“Gravel and Hawk reads like a superb family album of photographs and videos of memories and dreams. There is a James Agee-like sharpness and alertness of observation in the images of tractors, cattle, Victrolas, boats, ancestors, awakening love. Norwood captures the fleeting insights of adolescence, the humiliations and victories of childhood, and inklings of mortality, in portraits achingly vivid, in riffs spare and honest, bringing the past alive in a fresh idiom.”
~Robert Morgan, author of Terroir and Gap Creek
“Except for Carl Jay Buchanan’s set of utterances on Jack the Ripper, these Ludwig-lays are the best modern poems I know about the crueler follies of the nineteenth century.”
“With The Soft Blare, Nick Norwood performs a miraculous transmutation of what turns out to be a stunning array of elements acquired through decades of strenuous reading.”
“Nick Norwood’s newest collection is both beautifully restrained and intensely local. With impeccable craftsmanship, he delineates a farm, a family, neighbors: a place and a time. Yet something else is going on: the particulars of the poems gather a subterranean strength and by book’s end we are shocked to realize how attached we have become to another’s memories, how those memories have taken up residence in our own minds. This is the marvel of poetry, and Norwood achieves it with grace and intelligence.”
~Kelly Cherry, author of The Retreats of Thought: Poems
The Soft Blare, selected by Andrew Hudgins for the River City Poetry Series (2003)
Gravel and Hawk, winner of the Hollis Summers Prize, Ohio University Press (2012)
Wrestle, a limited edition, fine press book with poems by Nick Norwood, images by Erika Adams, Eating Dog Press (2007)
A Palace for the Heart, second prize winner in the Mellen Press Poetry Competition (2004)
“Gravel and Hawk is an elegiac book—explicitly so in the poems honoring relatives and friends who have died, and implicitly so in many other poems that recreate the daily textures of a farm-centered life. As a whole this book delivers a rich sense of a past deeply examined.”
~Mark Halliday, Hollis Summers Poetry Prize judge
Poet, Educator, Director of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians.