Toucans in the Arctic is an inspired truant from any number of poetical schools. In this lyric case study of tumult and tranquility, the poet, tour pamphlet in hand, wanders through the national park of the psyche, noting surfeits of beauty and ruin as he scrambles across the eerie landscapes of identity and marriage.
“In this long-awaited first collection, Toucans in the Arctic, Scott Coffel writes, ‘When I see a woman at the Cottage Bakery/immersed in Ulysses or The Brothers Karamzov/my desires align themselves in neat rows/for the march into liberated Paris…’ Of wide reference and deep thought, of language taut and somehow new, these are 21st Century poems of joy, rage, erudition, wry humor, monumental tenderness. You will remember the day you discovered this book.”—Suzanne Cleary
2010 —Poetry Society The Norma Farber First Book Award
Food doesn’t get any more local, cosmic, primitive, tasty, or disturbing than in this book-length, lyrical-meditative poem. At stake are no less than the origins and mysteries of flesh and touch.
“Thorpe Moeckel’s Venison is civilized and wild, like a life lived well, a barbaric yawp of pain and joy and true wonder at the brilliant ordinariness of a life lived close to the earth and close to the bone. Moeckel’s fine poetic is whetted on the visceral and cannily transcendental. Read it.”—Christopher Camuto
“This wonderfully layered poem shows us ‘how to come to know the woods such that you dream them through the eyes of the deer. This is the praise song of the hunter and the world he hunts.”—Michael Chitwood
Blending biblical characters into a deeply personal history, What We Ask of Flesh tells of women through time, their spirits borne through broken flesh, through wombs and memories. The body becomes an instrument as words explore the mystical connection between what was and is.
“A tour de force and a story where nothing—no regret or rationalization can stanch the reality of what can happen to us, made of flesh. This is a surging book …”—Grace Cavalieri, The Washington Independent Review of Books
“What We Ask of Flesh, like the flesh itself, is full of honey and fire. It’s impossible not to feel called by these poems, summoned by their rich sound and vatic voice.”—Amy Gerstler
2014 Finalist – Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry
In Who’s Afraid of Helen of Troy, David Lazar extends the language of prose poetry, mixing the classical and the high modern, the song and dance man, and the Odyssean. Nothing, he finds, is as far apart as we think, except for chaos and order, innocence and experience. Who’s Afraid of Helen of Troy is a sequence of prose poems about the ravages of love, how we desire it, and whether we care to recover.
The voice in these prose poems is semi-autobiographical, and performative; masked yet emotionally raw. It draws on features of modernist poetry, uses an arch, cadenced sentence as its primary unit, but draws on the Iliad, Odyssey, and other classical myths as part of its internal cosmos. The book is an essay, of sorts, and a chorus of one, splintered. It takes the prose poem to a new pitch of expressive and intellectual discourse.
The speaker dreams himself in and out of movies and cities: Troy, Paris, London. On the verge of dissolution, he understands that memory is almost never a consolation, that it draws blood as a price for its music. When we are ashen, irony is the instrument that we keep checking for in our pockets. Lazar’s voice is a sacred last resort: something’s gotta give.
What would poets say about each other’s poems if they were really honest? The answer is in Wild and Whirling Words. Thirty-three of America’s best and most important poets, diverse in gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, geography, political disposition, and aesthetic commitments, took the challenge. Each volunteered one of her or his own poems, which the moderator then circulated anonymously among the other poets, who responded anonymously. The results tell a story about how poets read poems and how they write poems, about what poetry is, and about the state of contemporary poetry in America.
YOU. In verse that is both wild and taut with controlled fire, YOU. careens through a psychic underworld of passion and imprecation where husband and wife, father and daughter, addict and rehab, self and god, join and divide. Joseph Wood’s book-length screed haunts like a Rilkean summons: YOU. must change your life.
Enjoy our latest video "Bearing Imagination - Outreach" which describes Etruscan's mission and continued literary efforts, funded by grants and donations, including the Ohio Arts Council.
"At Length", an on-line journal, has just released a chapter from To Banquet with the Ethiopians: A Memoir of Life Before the Alphabet (forthcoming from Broadstone).