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Aerial
Bin Ramke




Omnidawn
2012 • 112 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry - American

$17.95 Paperback, 978-1-890650-60-5



Aerial is concerned with the sky—its cloud-laden aspects in the first section, its dry realms of severe spirituality in the second.

Aerial is concerned with the sky—its cloud-laden aspects in the first section, its dry realms of severe spirituality in the second. And as poetry is always about attention to language, the words “cloud” and “clod”—a shape of vapor and a shape of dirt—are key to this book’s antithetical obsessions. But so, too, are words such as “father,” “hunger,” and “edge.” The implied narrative behind the poems has to do with family, but especially with loss of family members and how the connections they once formed live on for good or ill. The frail human community—always touching earth and touched by sky, by winds, weather, and words as if from God or the gods—lies behind every stanza. Ramke’s early work in mathematics and his many years as a literary editor result in a diction and style which moves readily among scientific, religious, and literary discourse and discoveries. His desire to bring “fact” into the sharpest focus (remembering the connection between fact and manufacture) results in a tumbling sort of movement through the shadowy areas of consciousness into the boundary areas where knowledge is adventure.



BIN RAMKE, former editor of a book series for the University of Georgia Press, current editor of the Denver Quarterly and holder of the Phipps Chair in English at the University of Denver, studied mathematics in college before turning to poetry. Prior to that he spent a summer at age sixteen studying with topologist (and famously racist teacher) R.L. Moore at the University of Texas. He continues to see similar patterns arising from language and mathematics in all aspects of human consciousness and human behavior. His childhood in rural Louisiana and east Texas is also a part of the central concerns and beauty that his work tries to engage. But along with the beauty he experienced a particularly virulent ugliness, the racial hatred that was part of the American experience of the 1960s. The American South was an explicit and obvious force and subject in his first several books of poems but Ramke was never an easy fit into the “southern writing” category—probably for lack of adequate narrative. And yet in the last several books he has written extensively out of, or around, the devastations of hurricane and flood, especially Katrina and Rita, on the region.



Sat, 2 Dec 2017 12:11:05 -0500