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This River Goes Two Ways, Poems by Martin Woodside
In This River Goes Two Ways, Martin Woodside brings together a diverse collection of verse, balancing an impressive array of tones and styles. Culled largely from travels in Romania, the poems here survey disparate landscapes with a restless energy. Woodside delves deeply into our most important relationships, between people themselves and the places they live in. Fervent and meditative, he exposes the world from a train window or the kitchen table with the same probing clarity.
"As I read these poems I couldn't quite decide if Bucharest brought Martin Woodside to a new kind of poetics or if Martin Woodside found a new way of seeing that Eastern European sensibility in his verse. But either way, the result is stunning--a book that journeys into the heart of the other and finds there its own clarities. Indeed, this river goes both ways. I loved looking at Bucharest through Woodside's eyes, as the city's freshness, bursting with life, opened with those 'old men who sort through morning glories / pinching the buds' and those 'girls who say that we are ugly which they say in Romanian.' And if men bring home flowers from the market--they are held facing downwards. And if there is a revolution, it is half-finished. And, indeed there is 'a certain way to shake your fist / at cars.' I love how alive Woodside's geography is, how it goes on the nerve alone, how it shouts 'Lets them call police! Let them call off the dog! Let the doorbell keep ringing.' And while the 'wet birds' fly over roofs, and the 'glacial sun' opens up our secrets, the book of the city becomes the book of the body, the Eros of 'my hand on your hips,' so a curtain can pull 'fast over the scene / of creation.' Woodside is the investigator of the marvelous that lives in the heart of detail, he is a master of tone from which the 'mystery is revealed / the small picture shut in the palm of your hand.' This book is a beautiful debut, and this poet who already proved himself a brilliant translator of contemporary Romanian poetry arrives here not as a new voice but as a voice that is already fully developed, a voice opens our windows to the larger world."--Ilya Kaminsky
"In This River Goes Two Ways, Martin Woodside transports a reader through interior and exterior worlds scented with intimacy and chaos. Even in Ode to Your Bucharest, 'Where all the men bring home/flowers from the market, held/facing downwards//a gesture to gravity,' a reader might become confused by the customs, but the life that surrounds and stains will become indelible. This first collection by a wonderful new poet invites readers to celebrate ordinary life around the stewpots and hearths of a shared village--our world."--Sandra Alcosser
Author website: http://martinwoodside.com
ISBN 978-1625491428, 72 pages, $17.00