Fruit grapples with what it means to be childless in a world defined by procreation. Poems move between the scientific and the biblical, effortlessly sliding from the clinical landscape of a sperm bank to Mount Moriah as Abraham prepares Isaac for sacrifice. Exploring issues of sexuality, lineage, and mortality, Snider delves into subjects as varied as the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky; same-sex couple adoption; and Gregor Mendel’s death. Each poem builds into a broader examination of power and fragility, domesticity and rebellion, violence and devotion: heartrending vignettes of the aches and joys of growing up and testing the limits of nature and nurture. In language both probing and sensitive, Fruit delivers its own conflicted and celebratory answers to pressing questions of life, death, love, and biology.
“Original and rhapsodic, rich in tender details, Bruce Snider's beautiful book is driven by acceptance: the rarest of spiritual fruits.”
—Spencer Reece, author of The Road to Emmaus
"Bruce Snider’s ravishing new collection Fruit examines the ways family is made—the histories we come from, our choices in who and what to nurture. Here there are elegies for the self, litanies for the dead, a childlessness both mourned and celebrated, a life ripe with every hurt and desire."
—Traci Brimhall, author of Saudade
"In Bruce Snider’s third book, the past isn’t a keyhole, a narrow looking; instead, it’s a vast terrain. The secretive blossoming of queerness, bullying, the loss of a father, and a steadfast marriage are rendered in language that’s pristine but barbed with grief, bright with wonder. Notions of parentage—past, present, future—ripple through all the poems. Deeply felt and beautifully built, Fruit is a remarkable book that braids yearning and endurance into sweeping and exquisite music."
—Eduardo C. Corral, author of Guillotine
The Poem's Country:
Place & Poetic Practice
In twenty-nine innovative essays, The Poem's Country: Place & Poetic Practice considers how the question of place shapes contemporary poetry. Responding from cities and rural communities across the United States, the contributors of The Poem's Country thoughtfully and passionately explore issues of politics, personal identity, ecology, the Internet, war, sexuality, faith, and the imagination. Essential reading for students of poetry at every level, The Poem’s Country examines the connection between lyric and geographical constraint, as well as how place challenges, enchants, and helps clarify the intersections between language and the world.
"This remarkable and exciting gathering of prose on contemporary poetry is international and generational at once—this is important because it represents the imaginations and insights of emerging poets writing across a spectrum of taste, 'place and poetic practice.' Yet the critical nature of the writing is more testimony than theory, more personal than panoramic, which means that the individual essays are that much more alive, more in touch, and more unique. Overall, The Poem’s Country resists tradition even more than it replaces it."
"The Poem’s Country demonstrates that poetry isn't limited to the landscapes we inhabit but by the scope of the imagination itself. In these ravishing essays, the next generation of poets explores the influence of place on contemporary poetry, and a diverse reimagining of place emerges that both grounds and lifts us up."
A father and son shovel snow from a driveway; a boy accidentally sets himself on fire; two boys fish for bluegill; a young drag queen returns home to die. At the center of it all, a teenage boy’s suicide resonates through the lives of those closest to him. The poems in Bruce Snider’s Paradise, Indiana describe a place where mundane events neighbor the most harrowing.
“There's a deep and complicated life in this land's interior…Underneath beats a thousand fragile hearts, their sensitive, furtive gestures. Bruce Snider's version of paradise accounts for those souls, makes a haven for them amidst the roadkill and the rapeseed, among the monster trucks and holy scriptures…Nothing in Snider's America is ever lost: not love, not beauty, not the first furtive kisses of adolescent boys. In this paradise, no one form of pleasure takes dominion over the others.”
—D.A. Powell, author of Chronic
"These powerful eloquent poems explore the difference between the place we make and the place that makes us. The landscape of erotic memory, the vista of long-ago regret join with far more plainspoken pieces of territory, such as gas pumps and cornfields and an uncle’s truck bed to make a believable and memorable world. This is a wonderful collection."
—Eavan Boland, author of Domestic Violence
"What Snider reminds us in these achingly beautiful poems is that one can neither love nor hate the place from which we come. These places divide us “like one of those snowy Indiana towns / with names like Paradise or Liberty.” These places remind us we are divided things, all of us divided to the very core."
—C. Dale Young, author of Torn
The Year We Studied Women
In this intimate first collection, Bruce Snider explores the intricacies of memory, loss, and identity. A farmer finds the body of a dead child, a boy watches his mother get ready for a date, an overweight sister shares a cupcake. Sometimes funny, always big-hearted and inventive, Snider's book is an attempt to reconcile it all--past and present, fear and desire, self and sexuality--making the barest symbols into their own deeply personal language.
“How can poems be so fierce and so delicate all at once? Bruce Snider is a master of elegant movements, turning phrases and layering images to create a supple, velveteen texture of words. His penetrating gaze never wavers. Mystery stitches its luminous seam through the lines. These poems are comforting in their perfection. One plus one equals everything here.”
—Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Fuel
“During a time when first collections are apt to be a little too cautious and disappointingly arid, it’s a pleasure to encounter the verve and self-assurance of Bruce Snider’s debut. His voice is always engaging; his imagery is original, and his poems know how to make the difficult leap from hilarity to pathos. His is writing that matters.”
—David Wojahn, author of Interrogation Palace
“Bruce Snider’s superb poems seem to have come into being without any need to impress or prove a point or compete. They are pure in that way, content and courageous enough to be what they are: observant, expressive, sometimes sad, sometimes slyly witty, always true to a trajectory that is purposeful and swift even as it takes surprising turns. Undistracted by what they have to say, these poems say it fully and convincingly, so that the poet appears on the page by virtue of never calling attention to himself. That wonderful, uncommon paradox, that art.”
—Kelly Cherry, author of The Retreats of Thought