All I Feel Is Rivers


All I Feel Is Rivers

Dervish Essays

Robert Vivian

126 pages


March 2020


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

March 2020


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

March 2020


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

All I Feel is Rivers is a collection of a new hybrid writing that, though spiritually akin to prose poems, retains an essayistic form. After several life-changing trips to Turkey, Robert Vivian took up a deep study of Rumi, the thirteenth-century Sufi mystic, poet, and founder of the religious order that performs the now-famous dervish dance. Vivian’s fascination seeped into his writing, and his newly conceived dervish essays reflect the dynamic movement and ancient symbolism of the ritual dance with wild lyricism, sometimes breathless cadences, and mesmerizing unspooling.
Utterly fearless in their passionate avowals of life’s many manifestations, these essays showcase the surprising connectivity between the sacred and profane, uncovered by associative drifting. Vivian’s essays take on grief and loss, the natural world and climate, spirituality and ecstasy, all while pushing the boundaries of what prose can do.

Author Bio

Robert Vivian is a professor of English and creative writing at Alma College in Michigan and teaches as a core faculty member in the low-residency MFA program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is the author of four novels as well as two essay collections, Cold Snap as Yearning and The Least Cricket of Evening, all available from the University of Nebraska Press, as well as the collection of dervish essays, Immortal Soft-Spoken.


"In quick blocks of text that amount to ecstatic prose poetry or a kind of flash nonfiction, Vivian celebrates the living moment, 'the hum and thrum and love of it.'"—New York Times Book Review

“Line by line, image by image, essay by spiraling essay, Vivian awakens us to the grace of the infinite moment: the shaft of morning light, the teaspoon of honey, the spider on the north-facing wall. All I Feel Is Rivers is a wondrous, transcendent book. Let its currents take you.”—Harrison Candelaria Fletcher, author of Presentimiento: A Life in Dreams

“This is the work of a Sufi master of rapturous prose, who dances until his feet do not touch the ground.”—David Wojahn, author of From the Valley of Making: Essays on the Craft of Poetry

“There is a wild innocence in Vivian’s headlong rush to get the language right, but don’t be fooled. These are words spoken by a man who has seen the whole spectrum and who chooses—is it even choice?—to be immersed and re-watered again and again, to make each sentence feel like class V rapids through which we readers, boatless but safe, feel transported, not just from one place to another but from one realm to another. These essays are an exhilarating achievement.”—Barbara Hurd, author of Listening to the Savage: River Notes and Half-Heard Melodies

“The dervish dance spins us, via Vivian, into yes. Yes to the world. Yes to joy. Yeses as homages to what brings us peace: rain, rivers, vodka, Mandelstam. Yes to the letter O. Yes to sorrow too, and oh yes, to ‘this book of flesh turned on its back . . . to gaze up . . . stars wheeling in the wake of so much dark silence.’”—Nance Van Winckel, author of Our Foreigner

Table of Contents

How Precious Still 
Even Then
All the Rivers of My Days
Soul Ink
Water Is My Name
Other Darks
O After O
To Beg Mercy of a Shadow
I Who Wake Beside You
Ordering a Book of Poems
Dear Syllables
Fish Me
Let a Poem
Because of What My Brother Told Me
Any Word
Bright Windowsill the Wondering
Another Kind of Waking
Essay Transparent Almost to Midnight
The Woman in Me
Even If
Essay as the World’s Worst Jeweler
Maybe Fall to My Knees
I Write With the River
How Shall I Owl the Sound
Bring the River
The Waft-Away World
Light Upon Lightly
A Kind of Inner Russia
Because There Are Ghosts
Come Earthward
Essay by the Black Sea
Gobsmack Essay
Ink of River
Keeper Bees
Letter to Neruda
Mother Forever
Read to You
Somewhere a Siren
Some Kind of Holiness
When Water This Earth
Tell Me Flower
The Most Woke
So Wild Beloved
Gaze of a Child
All I Feel Is Rivers
Becoming Less So

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