Winner of our 2015 “Our Wish For Blue” Summer Contest!
David Kann’s farm-language is not—emphatically not—the language of pastoral ease or a return to Eden. Kann writes a poetry of witness too engaged with the incarnate body for that; “each word icy-bright and sharp as a knife / that peels flesh from bone” is more like it. The nine memory-poems of this chapbook are soaked with the present-tense blood of animals, smeared with their dung and offal, rooted in sticky earth by a harrowingly accurate language that shapes remembered experience into the sublimity of the absolute. These are strong, meaty poems that recall “matters / of taking life and planting seed,” reminding us that life and death are never as separable as we would wish. ~James Cushing
As if descendants of Robert Frost, Theodore Roethke, and James Dickey, David Kann’s poems live in a flesh-and-bloodspurting agrarian domain. His gut-tightening edge-of-your-seat narratives take us into fields of crop and animal, into the actual viscera of dying creatures, before we literally come up for air amid mortal questions. He knows that in our technological century we must ask ourselves about the way we balance civilized conscience against primitive impulse. With orphic rhythms, can’t-look-away imagery, and relentless philosophic adventure, The Language of the Farm entertains while demanding that we recognize ourselves as kin to the world we both husband and devour. ~Kevin Clark
David Kann’s The Language of the Farm is really the strange and powerful language of memory and of childhood as much as it is of place and the mystery of place. It is only with a writer like Kann that we can experience so much, a whole world, within so few pages. The publication of this collection is a celebration and I am thrilled to raise a glass to it. ~Matthew Dickman