The Night WIth James Dean and Other Prose Poems
by Allison A. deFreese
Repeatedly, in The Night With James Dean and Other Prose Poems, we encounter whimsy made believable, as in the opening vignette, featuring the narrator as the cake at a catfish wedding. In this remarkable little collection, what can’t happen does happen. Allison deFreese makes it real: “Rose stems or roman rockets drop like cigar ends, while birds flash silver against a stormy sky and time escapes in the large stack of halved oranges, their pulp pale now as the feeble breeze.” Elsewhere, deFreese reflects on the unlikely miracle of being here at all. “Bacon,” marvels at the revival of a newborn piglet discovered near frozen in snow. And consider this passage about the role of chance in anyone’s arrival on the planet: “Heredity, then, the riches of blooming or booming when odds were you would never be planted, a final sneeze and the night of your conception dissolves in air, an aspirin in water.” Immerse yourself in these pages—one marvel and then another.
David Meischen, author of Anyone’s Son, selected Best First Book of Poetry by the Texas Institute of LettersAllison A. deFreese's poems not only erase barriers between poetry and prose, they also blur the boundaries between ourselves and the Other: be it a piglet about to freeze, a hummingbird, or our own ghosts. Using language that appeals to the five senses, deFreese brings us closer to the world around us, as if we were seeing it for the first time. Her poems lay bare our shared path, as well as the fine ties binding our existence with that of other beings.
Nidia Cuan, author of Las Carta Las cartas que no leí (The Letters I Never Read) and Señas particulares (Identifying Features)
From the very first line of these collected prose poems, Allison deFreese invites us into a world that often feels just beyond what’s possible, a world with her stunning writing as our guide, a world freshly familiar and deeply human. The writing — word for word — is a collaboration with the reader, clear-eyed and drawing us in gently. Once there, we are giddily transported and finally grateful for the mysteries that linger from poem to poem. This collection is sensual, sly, funny, full of yearning and its brevity is breathtakingly beautiful.
James Still, author of Dinosaur(s), And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank, and The Velocity of Gary
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