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MOUNTAIN & FLOWER: Selected Poems of Mykola Vorobiov  •  Translated from the Ukrainian by Maria G. Rewakowicz
The River People
MY MOTHER’S RED FORD  •  New & Selected Poems 1986 – 2020
The River People  
  Polly Buckingham

ISBN 978-1-7333400-7-6     $18  /  $$24 (Canada)     5.5” x 8.5"       

92 pp      
PUB DATE: September 2020       Featured Poetry


AuthorPhotoThe poems in The River People, Polly Buckingham’s debut collection, move through dream landscapes and natural landscapes exploring connection and loss, abundance and degradation, the personal and the political. The speaker in these poems is often in a state of not knowing that can be both terrifying and revelatory. It is a state in which windows and doors connect the living and the dead and the inner and outer landscapes. The River People is organized in four sections that move from Florida to the Pacific Northwest. The poems are heavily imagistic and reminiscent of the deep image poetry and Spanish surrealism.

“Polly Buckingham’s terse lyrics, semi-biographical journeys and glittering elegies, rich with the surreal fabric of nightmare and dream, open in the mind strange doors through which affection, fear, grief, playfulness, and wonder enter the world. In “Potting Roses,” she tells us: “I suppose this is the peace/after a summer rain/ when mist rises above the roses/and the white faces/of angels dissipate.” The River People offers dozens of such moments, all of them crafted by a mature emotional and technical range rarely found in first collections of poems, and I am grateful that this book now lives and breathes among us.”

—Christopher Howell 

It’s about time a book of Polly Buckingham’s striking poems has come out, to join with her award-winning fiction. The poems have been around for years and are gathered here in a delightful first collection. Although her work falls in with surrealists like Pablo Neruda and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the poems are nailed down by crystal clear imagery. “After You’re Gone” is typical, starting with “I’m standing in the refrigerator light/ pouring water into a blue glass/when a white van pulls up.” In poem after poem, the mystery builds. A fine introduction to an original and serious poet.

—Peter Meinke

About the Author

Polly Buckingham

PBPolly Buckingham teaches at Eastern Washington University. She is the editor of Willow Springs magazine and founding editor of StringTown Press. Author of The Expense of a View (Katherine Anne Porter Award, 2016) and A Year of Silence (Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award, 2014) and recipient of a fellowship from Artist Trust Washington, her poetry and short stories appear in The Gettysburg Review, Threepenny Review, The Poetry Review, and elsewhere.


Florida Morning

We wake to the smell of gardenia.
We float white flowers in a blue bowl.

At night when we follow the shore
handfuls of cold fade into stars.

Steam rises from the groves
coating each orange in a woolen haze.

We press each other between the sheets
and rise like ocean swells, then fade

as a ghost might float into morning.

—Polly Buckingham