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Keith Ekiss

Keith Ekiss

Keith Ekiss is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford University and the past recipient of scholarships and residencies from the Bread Loaf and Squaw Valley Writers’ Conferences, Santa Fe Art Institute, Millay Colony for the Arts, and the Petrified Forest National Park. He lives in San Francisco.

keithekiss.com

Keith Ekiss interview at 32Poems

 

 

Pima Road Notebook

Pima Road NotebookPima Road Notebook

$15.00 paper | 73 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-930974-93-7
Publication Date: Sept 2010
Buy: Amazon.com | spdbooks.org

"Pima Road Notebook, Keith Ekiss’s remarkable first collection, contrasts the finite imagination of the American dream with the enduring serenity and mystery of the Sonoran Desert, where the ridiculous—fairways and greens—compete with the sublime—saguaros and palo verdes. No one has written poems with such a dispassionate and calm eye about the Cadillac desert as Ekiss. Free of sentiment and dream trance, Ekiss is a fair witness to one of America’s most sundered lands"
         —Michael Collier

"Ekiss charts, excavates and re-conjures the desert while traversing his vision-road. It is a lone realm of the always-unfinished, abandoned and burned structures and it is also the place where in the midst of dead fathers, blurred histories and lost peoples, the ‘flowering of drought’ and the ‘cleansing of roots’ is possible. In horizon-shaped lines and measured whorls of breath, Keith Ekiss guides us through the brave spaces between fire and desire. A brilliant collection for years to come."
         —Juan Felipe Herrera

"These poems create a bold and intense landscape. In deft, musical language they persuade the reader that the history of the land is almost always a personal history. It is this eloquent interweaving of life and place that makes this such a compelling first collection."
         —Eavan Boland

". . . a writer with the facility to weave many observed threads toward an irrefutable poetic conclusion . . ."
         —Sean Finney, San Francisco Magazine

Poem

The Desert

I lift a rock, the scorpion tenses,
amber telson curled in question.

Rattlesnakes through grass shake
venomous rattles. If she strikes,

I’m taught to spit out the poison.
Salt thirst: throat gully dry,

day sweats out from me everywhere.
Hummingbird heart, my dizzy steps

revise the weeds. Trees look parched,
undivided into beautiful and lacking.

Shadows evaporate like water.
No river, not even stones worn smooth.

Slingshot snap, my pebble never meets
its crow. What threatens will disappear.

Hurry home, the future all fairway and green,
targeted with ribbons and stakes.