Asking My Liver for Forgiveness.jpg
Asking My Liver for Forgiveness.jpg



76 Pages

Publisher: Rain Mountain Press
Purchase includes: PDF

Read reviews on Amazon & Goodreads

After a subtly disturbing, two-month illness of fatigue, depression, peculiar psychological states, and tickles of low-grade nausea, the poet Rob Cook woke up the morning after Thanksgiving, 2013, with yellow skin and an itchy chest and abdomen. His immediate, pre-conscious reaction: liver is hurt, dead in six months. ASKING MY LIVER FOR FORGIVENES is an exploration in verse of a mysterious, but life-threatening liver disease.

"Eschewing neat closures, Cook creates poems that arguably compose one long gesture, the sections open to and echoing each other, all held together by the pain of a unblinking awareness as well as by a ubiquitous freshness in the writing if Cook sees a worn linguistic or perceptual path in front of him, he always veers off in a new direction that challenges both himself and his reader. Fueled by a deep dismay, the poetry goes beyond Surrealism, for Bretons astonish me is no longer sufficient; the many contemporary outrages of Cooks always lurking, indefinable country require instead a poetic that can register the shock of castrated hymns and the statues of sharks inside our mouths. Cooks world, where even the ground is capable of falling and wind is torn to plastic, is our own but atomized and reassembled in such a way that what we see through his lens is both strange and familiar. Thus the poet's vision of berries ripening / on a noose encapsulates a life-and-death drama between, as the books title suggests, the imperial and the natural, a drama that gives an urgent quality to the verse and so invigorates the poet that the end result is a buoyant energy in and of itself a significant victory. Like Whitman in another perilous national period, Cook, by imagining the unimaginable and expressing the ineffable, offers us good health; EMPIRE IN THE SHADE OF A GRASSBLADE is both an antidote for dispiritedness and a guidebook for living in the land of commercially-harvested weeping."—Philip Dacey

"It is hard to take an art derived from a series of odd synapses in brains, crossing cultures, dissolving boundaries, touching something not previously touched, feeling the wind arise from a revenant s hidden corner. The wind hypnotizes and you are lost, surrounded. And as this wind moves this one in that direction, it moves another differently. Prods different steps, seeks other hideouts. And then once in a while, comes this one guy, he s walking kind of slow, taking it all in. Sure he feels the wind...but just a little ahead of time so he stills himself to not be afraid. He allows it to wash over and through him until it becomes part of him. And once it is part of him it leaks out from the splits in his seams and the holes in his pockets and the gaps between his teeth...and he must sing it or dance it or make poetry of it. And when he does, people are moved more than they are by the seduction of the muse or the insistence of the Lorca knew so well... are moved by duende. And that guy, the one who knows how to meet the wind, the one you need to read, the one who understands...the man who wields surrealism like a wand to summon memories in surprise tastes, measures from poignant to bittersweet... sometimes just plain bitter, that man whose words makes your blood rush dark and furtive...that guy is Rob Cook. As a surrealist poet, Cook proves it is not a skill like harnessing, but a release, like inviting the wind in. And when the wind and the poet become one, the duende, the deep song from the center comes alive and breathes its momentary but long lasting touch upon your soul. It is an intuitive lyrical dance...the duende. It comes and you put yourself in its way. Rob Cook has mastered the dance. Find his poems, find his book, wrestle an angel for it, sucker punch a muse to read it."—Gail Gray

Add to Cart