Spine (Paperback)

Currently unavailable for purchase on this site.

Purdue University Press
6.00" x 9.00"

Book Description

The people and creatures in "The Ones Consumed" become absorbed-figuratively or literally-by the world around them. Though the absorption often destroys them, the section opens and closes with poems which reveal the can be compensation and justice in the process. "Separate States" deals with the experiences of those who find themselves cut off from the lives most familiar to them. This separation results in their gaining knowledge stronger and deeper than the kind offered by the surfaces of the commonplace. Isolation has more severe physical and emotional consequences for the people of the poems in "Scars of What Touches." Even when someone chooses isolation, as in the final poem of the section, the presence of the outside world forces itself past the barriers erected against its intrusion. The last section, "Shaped by Shells and journeys," is peopled by those who find reason for hope, even though the innocence of an earlier age has vanished for them. They accept the limitation that the only part of their world they can truly change is themselves, and this releases them from the isolation which wounds or destroys so many in the earlier sections. It is thus at the final poem transforms a scene of unthinking devastation into one where the poet alters the way he will five from that time on.

About the Author(s):

Michael Spence graduated in 1974 with a B.A. in English from the University of Washington.  He then served four years as a naval officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy.  When he completed his hitch, he returned to Seattle, where he currently lives and drives a public transit bus.  His work has been published in Editor's Choice II: Poetry, Fiction, and Art from the U.S. Small Press (1978-1983); Poetry; The American Scholar; The Chariton Review; Shenandoah; Quarterly West; and 15 Seattle Book, among other magazines and anthologies.  The Spine was chosen as a finalist in the 1986 Walt Whitman Award competition, and in 1987 his work won the Mary Elinore Smith Poetry Prize from The American Scholar.