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Bloodroot: Poems

By author: Bill King
Product Code: P682
ISBN: 9780881469103
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Availability: In stock
Price: $20.00

The poems in Bill King's first full-length collection, BLOODROOT, articulate a life grounded in the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains. We see memories of his youth in southwestern Virginia's Back Creek Valley, as well as poems of adult years in (and exploring the Monongahela Forest that surrounds) the mountain town of Elkins, West Virginia. These poems follow the root of a life nourished by and inseparable from garden soil, mountain rivers, and the hearths and kitchen table of home back to its origins. "Grown Boy" recalls a solitary childhood spent exploring creeks and two-lanes. In "Black Kite," a mature father's sense of home and family take on depth and gratitude after a cancer diagnosis and chronic illness. Poems like "This World Should Be Enough" look beyond personal mortality to honor the mystery and beauty of wild landscapes long threatened by the violence of the extraction industry. Finally, "To Have and To Hold" pledges fealty to love in all of its forms, a stance that makes the book's meditations on mortality and acceptance, especially "Fifty Gardens In" as hopeful as they are honest. By turns narrative and lyrical, these accessible poems find metaphor in native landscapes: "the pink and purple riddles" of joe pye and ironweed, a "cicada, / like a pressure canner thrumming on a stove," the red-tail hawks that "carry the wounded skyward," the bloodroot "whose petals fall just as soon / as the flower begins to bloom." King's poems offer a language for how to love a world we must, ultimately, leave.
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Review by: Doug Van Gundy, poet and director of the low-residency MFA Program in Writing, West Virginia Wesleyan College - May 24, 2023
"BLOODROOT is so satisfying and compelling it's hard to believe it's Bill King's first book. These poems sing with confidence and music and wonder in a voice that is as nuanced as it is straightforward. Whether he's writing about the yard-long beans in his garden, or exploring a cave with his son, or waking up in the recovery room after yet another cancer surgery, King's poems are clear-eyed and open-hearted in a way that is both essential and healing."
Review by: Ann Pancake, author of STRANGE AS THIS WEATHER HAS BEEN - May 24, 2023
"Beautiful, honest, generous, the poems in BLOODROOT ask us to look closely at what we often call the dying world and instead see the thousand daily resurrections there. King carries hard-won wisdom on this subject, having experienced near deaths himself, then the grueling process of personal regeneration. I admire so much about this book, but this settles in me most deeply: BLOODROOT gifts us sober hope and natural medicine for surviving, and loving, our world as it is now."
Review by: Rebecca Howell, author of WHAT THINGS COST - May 24, 2023
"Central Appalachia is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. The land swarms with flora and fauna that bursts with life and death, both, with life as death, death as life. BLOODROOT knows what the land knows. Each of these exquisitely crafted, deeply ecological, humid poems accumulate into a "bildungsroman" for the grown. May it be offered at every library, every hospital chapel, every seed store in the valleys. Bill King has given us an instant classic for the tradition."

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