Cleave: The Concept
I've always loved the word cleave, as the word is its own antonym. It means to separate. Think meat cleaver. Yet, it also means to "cling to," as in the lovers cleaved unto one another. I wrote a poem entitled "Cleave" and was reminded of the dichotomies of life, the flip sides, the bitter that comes with the sweet. The first half of the book is titled "Asunder" and deals with some forces that tend to fragment us: from ourselves, society, meaning. The second half of the book is titled "Unto" and celebrates forces that reconcile us with ourselves, others, nature. As with life, poems from each side bleed into each other and overlap, yin-yang style. It was a blast putting the book together and pulling from work from the past decade or so. I hope you enjoy!
Fantastic cover painting by Wyoming artist Brian Timmer:
Back cover blurbs for Cleave from poets Brian Daldorph, Denise Low, Al Ortolani, and Kevin Rabas:
Three poems from Cleave Part I: Asunder. Social media cleaves me asunder in "Kerouac gets a smartphone," the 2016 election cleaves me asunder in "My president tweets," and my mother's illness cleaves me asunder in "Introducing Myself to My Mother."
A few poems from Cleave Part II: Unto. Memories of growing up on the farm cleave me unto in "Thicker Than Water" and "By Guess or By Gosh." Raising my daughters cleaves me unto in "Realism."
"Sisyphus:" A poem comparing my dad to Sisyphus. Published in The Front Range Review, 2012, chosen as a Kansas Voices Honorable Mention Poem, and selected as a Kansas poem of the week on Heartland.