a book of poems on hope and love in the age of abandonment                                                                                 

from SHANN RAYwinner of: 




       * THE FOREWORD BOOK OF THE YEAR                                                            READERS’ CHOICE AWARD 


“Expansive and luminous… heartbreaking… not to be missed.”                                   Debra Magpie Earling, Perma Red 

“History can be read as a series of separations of death and life, light and dark.  The intention behind that separation is sometimes holy, but often violent.  Haunted by the space between these seemingly incompatible conditions, this collection conjures again and again the light that has the power to both destroy and redeem… to live without hope of life is a burden no person can survive.  The distance between the atomic and subatomic, between sun as life-giving and sun as life-consuming is the distance between the universal and the personal.  That the same sliver of matter can both make and unmake life depending on a certain slant of light, the position and velocity of bombardment, is the contradiction that energizes this devastating collection of poetry.” Kristin George Bagdanov, Fossils in the Making


“Ray’s feel for the heart and soul of Montana and its people—all its people—graces every page.” Andrea Barrett, Archangel

“A brutal beautiful vision of Montana.” —Esquire

“Tough, poetic, and beautiful.” Sherman Alexie, War Dances

“Shann Ray’s [work] brings to mind Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx but is, thankfully, entirely his own. His work is lyrical, prophetic, brutal yet ultimately hopeful.” Dave Eggers, What is the What

“Not torch song but full-throated anthem for the conflagration love tenders, Ray offers an intimate libretto chronicling the kingdom of marriage in which a wife’s body reigns supreme. Ghostpipe, banner, burning house, river, hollowed bell, sugarbowl, fluted vase, mountain lily, weather vane – here’s the body ‘God made,’ disrobed, ‘gilded like a struck match,’ winged. Shann Ray is a poet of ecstasy, god-parented by Derrida and Dickinson, propelled to plumb terrain both spiritual and geographic for clarity around what it means to be embodied and consumed. Love letter writ large to the divine grandeur of Ray’s Montana home and his fellow sojourner, Ray renders poems as consummate prayer.”      Katrina Roberts, Friendly Fire