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Richard Widerkehr’s In the Presence of Absence brings together elegies, journeys, and love poems. Gayle Kaune said the book is filled with gratitude earned by paying attention to the small moments that make up a reverent life: the black trees reflected in a roadside puddle, a mother’s slow passing and the tenderness with which the poet stands witness to her death: I must be true/to your story/ I can’t tell it/one spoonful at a time. This book details a heart that is wide open to both the pain and beauty of life. Widerkehr sings Kaddish for his father, admires bikini-clad women on a resort beach in Mexico, and observes his own cancer surgery, all the while knowing we are just passing through.
Richard Widerkehr earned his M.A. from Columbia University and won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan. He has one collection of poems, The Way Home (Plain View Press) and three chapbooks, including Her Story of Fire (Egress Studio Press). Tarragon Books published his novel, Sedimental Journey, about a geologist in love with a fictional character. Recent work has appeared in Rattle, Arts & Letters, Bellevue Literary Review, Floating Bridge Review, Clover, Sweet Tree Review, Jeopardy, Gravel, Naugatuck River Review, Mud Season Review, The Binnacle, and Cirque. Other poems are forthcoming in Measure, Chiron Review, and Avatar. He’s worked as a writing teacher and, later, as a case manager with the mentally ill.
On Pulling Down the Heavens, Joe Stroud said, “Barbara Bloom’s poems are a clear window into the world of wonder, of a childhood lived in the wilds of British Columbia, of a commitment to family and friendship, and an abiding reverence for the natural world.” The poems are autobiographical, touching on topics from childhood to the present.
Barbara Bloom grew up in California and on a remote coastal homestead in British Columbia, Canada. She returned to California to attend the University of California, Santa Cruz and made her home there for over forty years. She earned an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and taught composition and creative writing at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz. Her poems have appeared in various literary journals, and three of her poems from her first book, On the Water Meridian, were read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, with her musician husband, Fred Winterbottom.
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