New and Selected Poems, 1965-2005Book - 2005
A master craftsman who seamlessly combines vision and contemplation, Brendan Galvin is considered among the most powerful naturalist poets today. Habitat, Galvin's fourteenth poetry book, combines eighteen new works with lyric pieces from the past forty years -- including two book-length narratives, Wampanoag Traveler and Saints in Their Ox-Hide Boat. In a voice of quiet authority leavened with humor, Galvin intimately conveys his landscapes, birds and animals, people, and weather. By elevating the commonplace to the crucial, he takes his readers very far from the familiar.
Habitat offers an opportunity to trace a remarkable poetic career. In their richly various shapes, colors, textures, and strategies, Galvin's poems bear witness to matters both joyful and intractable.
Full of noose-around-the-neck wisecracks,
you'd have been an unwilling toiler,
envying the horse its stamina,
the hare its jagged speed over broken
fields, and bog cotton its deference to wind
on peatlands against blue mountains,
where it crowds white-headed
as ancient peasants herded off the best
grazing, enduring as if they'd do better
as plants hoarding minerals through winter,
hairy prodigals spinning existence from clouds,
from mistfall two days out of three, the odd
shoal of sun drifting across.
-- from "A Neolithic Meditation"