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my new book: trainride elsewhere: (& first review)


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i'm so excited to be announcing that my new poetry book


trainride elsewhere


will be out by Pressed Wafer in April or May of 2016!


(when it gets closer, i'll post a new topic on how you can purchase it if you want to!)


this book has been in a three year process, but it's finally finished!!!




One of John Thompson’s poems in trainride elsewhere asks: “why can’t there be anything easy.” And this book is not an easy read. It teases us with hard questions, takes us into troubling parts of our soul we’d like to pretend don’t exist, dares us to get our footing in lines that seem to shift under us, and taxes the limits of poetry and of our own minds. But this test match is all worthwhile. Poem after poem rewards us with the play of language: “it was all lingo, panic, love.” The poet I am most reminded of is Catullus, with his short cryptic, potent poems and their intrepid embrace of the conflicting emotions that haunt us, especially those of us in love: “there is a laceration/in the factory/of your fracas/lips. I cannot/take you there -/they have closed/ their doors & laid/everyone off./the heart/is a crunchy/ & bitter radish.” trainride elsewhere is a book that asks its readers to have the same fierce courage as its author has; these poems make us braver: “god filled me/though i/ was not empty./he could scarcely fit./my new skin, still soft,/tore & damaged.’ Reading these poems, I am reminded of Dickinson’s noble questionings, of Stephen Crane’s. They approach God and nature without blinking; without sentiment or reticence. And they are able to do so because of their faith in the play of language: “…the face of the moon/is outlandish, as she laughs/in the corner.” “the sun is plotting/against us; his/arm outstretched.” “there is a legion/of hibiscus/hiccupping petals.” the conjunction says ‘either you stay or/you go.’” One wants to keep quoting from this book; there are so many riches here to be mined, reader. Flick on the light on your miner’s helmet. Join this poet and dig deep.


Christopher Bursk, author of The Improbable Swervings of Atoms

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