Rival Gardens

Rival Gardens

New and Selected Poems

Connie Wanek
Introduction by Ted Kooser

Ted Kooser Contemporary Poetry Series

204 pages

Paperback

February 2016

978-0-8032-6964-4

$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

For decades a restorer of old homes, Connie Wanek shows us that poetry is everywhere, encountered as easily in the waterways, landscapes, and winters of Minnesota, as in the old roofs and darkened drawers of a home long uninhabited. Rival Gardens includes more than thirty unpublished poems, along with poems selected from three previous books—all in Wanek’s unmistakable voice: plainspoken and elegant, unassuming and wise, observant and original. Many of her new poems focus on the garden, beginning with the Garden of Eden.
 
A deep feeling for family and for the losses and gains of growing into maturity mark the tone of Rival Gardens, with Wanek always attending to the telling detail and the natural world.

Author Bio

Connie Wanek is the author of three books of poetry—Bonfire, Hartley Field, and On Speaking Terms—and the coeditor of the award-winning anthology To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-territorial Days to the Present. She has been a Witter Bynner Fellow of the Library of Congress and was named George Morrison Artist of the Year, an honor given to a northern Minnesotan for contributions to the arts over many years. She has lived for decades in Duluth, Minnesota.

Praise

"Beautiful in every respect."—Tim Nolan, MN Artists

"An instant favorite of mine."—Danny Heitman, Christian Science Monitor

"Equal parts marvel and pang, Rival Gardens documents the grit, heart, and wisdom of an ecopoetic sage."—Plume Poetry

"Wanek’s imagery is consistently outstanding."—Edward A. Dougherty, Rain Taxi

"Readers who are already fans of Wanek will be overjoyed with Rival Gardens. For those who are new to Wanek, this is the perfect collection for wading into the full scope of her amazing poetry."—Andrew Nye, Corresponder

“Connie Wanek’s beautiful poems travel effortlessly among our various realms—the human, the natural, and the cosmic, inhabited by gods who may have some resemblance to ourselves. The light is wonderfully clear in these accounts, as is the darkness, each one illuminating the other.”—Charles Baxter, author of There’s Something I Want You to Do

“Connie Wanek is one of the best poets of our time, and this new book, Rival Gardens, certainly demonstrates that. These selections . . . are works of wit and subtlety, of clarity, great generosity, and precise vision that make this book a treasure to read again and again.”—Louis Jenkins, author of Before You Know It and Tin Flag

“In Wanek’s earth-proud, glorious work, all elements are in communication: a chimney offers ‘a plume of smoke hand-feeding the wind,’ a radish ‘bites you back,’ and a moose’s ‘grave eyes’ are ‘reminiscent somehow of Abe Lincoln.’ The first time I found her poems I phoned them to friends before making it past the library stairs. Rival Gardens offers a thrilling gift to anyone who loves metaphors, human beings, compassion, and the revelation of sly observation—I’m sending out a cosmic call: these lyric narratives bring you life through a consciousness you wish you had lived.”—Jessica Greenbaum, editor of upstreet and author of The Two Yvonnes

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments    
Introduction by Ted Kooser    
Selections from Bonfire
April    
Red Fox    
Abstract    
Wild Apples    
The Girl and the Horses    
Daylilies    
The Wandering Sky    
Broom    
Skim Milk    
Radish    
Radiator    
Missed Bus    
Duluth, Minnesota    
Blue Moon    
The Gelding    
Dragonfly    
Rain    
Toward Dusk    
Peonies    
Amaryllis    
Christmas Tree    
January    
Bonfire    
Ski Tracks    
Selections from Hartley Field
The Coin behind Your Ear    
The Ventriloquist    
Butter    
Peaches    
Red Rover    
Jump Rope    
Horses in Spring    
Summer Night    
Lemon    
Long Nights    
Postcard: Busy Clarence Town Harbor on a Mail Boat Day    
Honesty    
Black and White Photograph    
Memorial Day at the Lake    
The Midwife    
The Exchange    
Children near the Water    
A Field of Barley    
Checkers    
So like Her Father    
The Hammer    
Tag    
Late September    
New Snow    
Grown Children    
Heart Surgery    
All Saints’ Day    
Christmas Fable    
After Us    
Hartley Field    
Selections from On Speaking Terms
First Snow    
Monopoly    
Nothing    
Tracks in the Snow    
The Accordion    
Scrabble    
Directions    
Lipstick    
Everything Free    
Fishing on Isabella Lake    
Garlic    
Rags    
Lady    
Confessional Poem    
Walking Distance    
The Splits    
Buttercups    
Closest to the Sky    
Comb    
Umbrella    
Picture Yourself    
The Death of My Father    
A Sighting    
Green Tent    
Pumpkin    
A Random Gust from the North    
Musical Chairs    
A Parting    
Pecans    
Old Snow    
Pickles    
Coloring Book    
Blue Ink    
Six Months after My Father’s Death    
Honey    
Leftovers    
Ice Out    
New Poems
Part One
Garter Snake    
Pollen    
Rival Gardens    
The Summerhouse    
Polygamy    
The Neighbor’s Pond    
An Ordinary Crisis    
Mysterious Neighbors    
Catbird    
Root Words    
Rain Collection    
Blue Flags    
“Golden Glow”    
Blackbirds at Dusk    
First House    
Last Star    
Part Two
Used Book    
Ghost Town    
When I Was a Boy    
Audience    
John Q. Public    
A Collection of Near Misses    
Adaptation    
Plein Air    
The Death of the Battery    
Girdle    
Parts per Million    
Mrs. God    
Genesis, Cont.    
Day of Rest    
Business    
First Love    
Part Three
Artificial Tears    
I Heard You Come In    
Pavement Ends    
The Shoes of the Dead    
A Last Time for Everything    
Practice    
Phoebe    
They Live with Us    
Recalled to Life    
Walleye    
Wild Asters    
Brave Rabbits    
Brave Rabbits, a Second Look    
A Marsh at Twilight    
The Second Half of the Night    
Cabbage Moth    
Garden Gloves    
Also by This Gardener    

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