THE BOOK: Cold Blessings
PUBLISHED IN: May 2019
THE AUTHOR: Maximilian Werner
THE PUBLISHER: Educe Press
SUMMARY: Cold Blessings is at once lyrical and meditative, mournful and celebratory. The book is both timely and relevant even as it honors the poetics of the past. Readers will hear echoes of Whitman and Rilke, Roethke and Wright, and yet at no time will they ever doubt that Werner’s voice is wholly his own.
THE BACK STORY: I wrote Cold Blessings for my MFA dissertation, which I finished way back in 1997. Most of these poems were written just as the internet was taking off, so they belong to another world.
WHY THIS TITLE: The title is taken from a poem I wrote in my first creative writing class with Professor Fred Dings, an excellent poet in his own right. Although the poem itself didn’t make it into the book, I’ve always liked the title because of how it captures the tension of what it means to be alive.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Because it’s thoughtful and meditative and memorializes a world no one will ever see again.
“These are poems that haunt the reader as much as the speaker, poems that create a sensibility well beyond observation or meditation. They take place in a world that might be thought of as a universal ruralism, a place that creates its own set of rules, rules unto itself, using whatever comes to hand or eye. This is a place bigger than we are, even as its structures and actions may seem miniscule. “Everything’s hungry in the country,” says one speaker. Hungry for what—this remains a looming, and disturbingly effective, theme. That hunger goes on to create an intimate gothic heartbeat, keeping the past alive in the dailiness of people we know and sit next to. However quietly they present themselves, don’t be fooled: These are powerful poems.” — Alberto Rios.
AUTHOR PROFILE: Maximilian Werner is Associate Professor (Lecturer) of Rhetoric and Writing Studies at the University of Utah. He is the author of seven books, including Wolves, Grizzlies, and Greenhorns — Death and Coexistence in the American West, which was published in May.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: Wallace Stevens once said that the purpose of poetry is to help people live their lives. I hope that’s true for readers of my poems.
SAMPLE CHAPTER: Interims (swosu.edu)
LOCAL OUTLETS: The Kings English in Salt Lake City.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: email@example.com