This Nest, Swift Passerine

by Dan Beachy-Quick


One of America’s most acclaimed younger poets entwines original and scavenged texts, lyric fragment and lyric song, to make a new form—this book—from wild metaphor.

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ISBN: 978-1-932195-60-6 Categories: , Tags: ,

“More than the transcendentalist riches, it is the poet’s attention to natural history—as in the list of different kinds of spiders’ webs in the first section of Beachy-Quick’s poem (cobweb, triangular, funnel, net, orb) and how these are woven through the surfaces of the poem—that I feel I can perch on.” —Jonathan Skinner, Jacket2

“For those who have grown accustomed to poetry that allows itself to be read, digested and forgotten in the course of a single page, the appearance and variety of Beachy-Quick’s Poem may seem more like smoke and mirrors. Yet the visual chaos of the work, whose terse, imagistic lines jostle for space alongside italicized blocks of prose and a liberal sprinkling of dashes and asterisks, is always controlled, nearly always purposeful, and immensely rewarding to explore.”—Matthew Ladd, West Branch

From Arch Literary Journal, see J. Kirk Maynard’s essay on allusions and quotations in Beachy-Quick’s This Nest Nest, Swift Passerine

Read a perceptive review by Andrew Wessels of Dan Beachy-Quick’s new book, This Nest, Swift Passerine

Dan Beachy-Quick’s newest book This Nest, Swift Passerine (Tupelo, 2009), and his recent book of essays A Whaler’s Dictionary(Milkweed, 2008) are the subject of a extensive exploratory essay by B.K. Fischer in the November-December issue of Boston Review, which speculates upon the origins of this poet’s intensely “collaborative” method and praises Beachy-Quick’s “dazzling textual constellations and impeccable understanding.” Here are excerpts from Fischer’s essay:

Beachy-Quick relies on another post-structuralist axiom: reading is a collaborative endeavor in which writer and reader reciprocally produce a plurality of meanings.…Many ostensible poet-reader collaborations turn out to be exercises in reader-hating obscurity, hipper-than-thou insouciance, or faux-intimate gestures that invite vague recognition only to degenerate into outright confusion. Beachy-Quick avoids these pitfalls with a tone of almost painful earnestness and gentle exhortation.…Inviting the reader into a sacred readerly space, Beachy-Quick tries to modulate the sheer force of a deluge of reference.…What makes this cascade of high-cultural citation tolerable and even pleasing is the twiningprocess itself—a poetics of the gerund. The syntactic motor of the book is the present participle as thing, action, and motion as form. The result is a poetic universe abuzz with ‘humming,’ ‘cawing,’ ‘echoing,’ ‘reading,’ ‘roaming,’ ‘embracing,’ and thinking.’ …Beachy-Quick has assimilated the terms of postmodern poetics without the corrosive irony that debilitates so many poets of his generation, and the result conveys a generosity of spirit and of utterance for which the reader can be very grateful. He is impressed by beauty, intimate in address. He has a gift for prose syntax and traditional poetic musicality, and he is not afraid to use either of them—or of sounding ‘literary.’

One of America’s most acclaimed younger poets entwines original and scavenged texts, lyric fragment and lyric song, to make a new form—this book—from wild metaphor.

A passerine is a bird of the taxonomic order Passeriformes, often called “songbirds” or “perching birds.” The passerines are among the most diverse of terrestrial vertebrates, and in his book-length canticle—both aria and elegy—the poet sings like a modern-day St. Francis to the wonder of creation in its splendor and peril.

“The form of this book lovingly builds a dwelling, avowal by vowel—a breathy mix of lyrical citation and citational lyric annunciation—tuned open, sonically alive, and homing in to the heart of song.” —Peter Gizzi

“This complex book has the fineness of etching, with firm, accurate lines placed close to each other so that one moves slowly along the passages and intensities….”—Bin Ramke

“A concatenation of sound and sense, of science and swoon, Dan Beachy-Quick writes lines of thought and fracture into an anarchy of form. Somewhere between chaos and its echo,…a love letter to every breathing creature.” —Kazim Ali

dan beachy-quickAuthor or co-author of fourteen books of poetry, exploratory prose, and fiction, Dan Beachy-Quick’s previous Tupelo volumes are Mulberry (2006), This Nest, Swift Passerine (2009), and Circle’s Apprentice (2011). His work has been supported by the Lannan Foundation, and he has taught at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Colorado State University. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with his family.

Additional information

Weight .4 lbs
Dimensions 6 × .5 × 9 in
Leaning over the water I see my own
Reflection not the surface
Where my eye is open to my eye
But deeper in the water where light
Ripples on current and current
The lake pulls on depths

Gravity and Light move at the same speed. The fruit occurs in my eyes as quickly
as the force that through the fruit will force it to fall.
Hang there like fruit, my soul,
Till the tree die!

falls we see
is revealed we say what is
is quicker than light is
quicker than

My hand in vineyard is vine, is vineyard
a garden inclosed is my spouse
mine are the hind’s legs
that leap through arms, her boughs

a dove in the stairs singing

and her eyes are doves, coo as doves coo

Peace with work to do

And dove’s wings upon my body blow
Flutter at finger’s tips
And wheat from the fingertips golden
Grows a claret light in the hand

Held against the window’s light

The leaves open leaves

Hands, book, wife-petal, wife-pistil

The tree outside tells us we are the tree’s

Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair;
Thou hast dove’s eyes. I have vineyards for hands.

These vineyards are my hands.