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Missing the Moon
Bin Ramke




Omnidawn
2014 • 120 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry / Cultural Studies / Sky Observation

$17.95 Paperback, 978-1-63243-000-7



"With intrusions from mathematics and science, these poems are elegiac celebrations of various ambitions to reach the moon."—Publishers Weekly

Scientific elegies of ambition and failure from this esteemed poet

Attempts to reach the moon, metaphorically and otherwise, are an ancient element of human imagination. With intrusions from mathematics and science, these poems are elegiac celebrations of various ambitions that miss the mark, but matter anyway. The poems sometimes center on events in the life of the poet or members of his family; sometimes on the geography, geology, and the histories accrued by local communities, human and otherwise; sometimes they center on historical figures reimagined—from Giacinto Scelsi to Alan Turing. But these poems are always about boundaries and barriers, crossed sometimes, ignored at peril. They are about distances that must be travelled.

Reviews / Endorsements

"Strongly influenced by the foundational literature of science and philosophy, the poems in Ramke's 11th collection offer enigmatic, haunting reflections on the unspoken principles that underlie human existence in a universe seemingly created for our personal discovery of it ("We all got chemistry sets/ for Christmas// each to mix/ futures alone/ among the elements"). If, as Ramke writes, "a poem is always an image of water," then the title's double meaning aptly characterizes the liquid interaction between language and comprehension that guides his poems into deeper, if no less mysterious, avenues of perception ("all things lie/ hidden within clouds of things"). Darkly enchanting, these meditations span a broad swath of ostensible subjects, from chemistry to theology, but always they ground themselves in the imagery of a world we know, or at least think we know. VERDICT While initial readings of Ramke's elegiac poems can appear obliquely remote, with time and contemplation they achieve "a consistency elegant of loss," coalescing into a richly internalized ecopoetics of recovery and mindful balance."—Fred Muratori, Library Journal

“The poems in Missing the Moon trace proximities and shapes, and nearness, rather than distance, fills the speaker with anguish.”—Jordan Sanderson, Heavy Feather Review

"Missing the Moon speaks to and for a forgotten people, exposing the not-so-distant remnants of this Americanization. It exists as an archive for the voiceless, rewriting history through displacement, and exposing the raw nerves resting quietly under the surface of the swamp. "
—Liz McGehee,
Volta Blog

“The poems in Bin Ramke’s new book enact the ceaseless struggle between containment and flow, garden and river, body and time. Fascinating as moving water, these poems allow ‘particulate sand its say.’ They do what Alfred North Whitehead said literature should do: they embody what they indicate.”—Rae Armantrout, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry



BIN RAMKE grew up in Texas and Louisiana and spent his youth in the bayous and marshes among Cajun and German-immigrant relatives. Author of over 10 books of poetry, his first book won the Yale Younger Poets Prize. He teaches at the University of Denver where he holds the Phipps Chair in English and is an Evans Professor, and where he edited the Denver Quarterly for 17 years. He teaches on occasion at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.



Sun, 17 Dec 2017 14:31:54 -0500