An Ordinary Life: Poems (Hardcover)
A poet whose work is “a cause of celebration” (John Freeman, Boston Globe) reveals the extraordinary within the ordinary.
In this stirring volume, award-winning poet B. H. Fairchild seeks the ironic, haunting presence imbuing each ordinary life with beauty, power, and meaning. By turns polyphonic and deeply personal, these poems range from Kansas highways and sunbaked baseball fields to secondhand memories of a World War II foxhole. They zoom in on a welder’s truck, a Walmart on Black Friday, and a record store, where a chance encounter offers radiant kindness in the face of grief. In a suite of prose poems written in the returning persona of the machinist and philosopher Roy Eldridge Garcia, “a watcher of things,” Fairchild finds sacred meaning in domestic scenes and expansive imagined narratives. Throughout, the poet evokes the brutal beauty of the American heartland, a morning’s “sheet-metal sky” and a grandfather’s farm, with its “dusty creek, damp / only when the winter wheat was bogged / in snow.”
Elevating blue-collar work and scenes from small towns in clear-eyed, reverent poetry, Fairchild proves himself once again “the American voice at its best: confident and conflicted, celebratory and melancholic” (New York Times).
— Dorianne Laux, author of Only as the Day Is Long