New Releases →

Please click on a book cover to learn more.

Shopping Cart
RADIATION KING
SWEETCLOVER
PANTHEON
AMERICAN LONELINESS
SMOKES
FRANKENSTEIN’S CHILDREN
Whoop & Shush  
|
  Jeff Baker

ISBN 978-0-9908193-0-1     $18  /  $21 (Canada)     5.5 x 8.5       

72 pp      
PUB DATE: Spring 2015       Poetry





Customers: 
Bookstores: 

Whoop & Shush is a book of poems obsessed with the ways we are bound, and bound together, by our language. Whether these poems are re-envisioning a childhood in the Appalachians of East Tennessee, calling out to Cherokee ancestors who no longer populate a lost homeland, or are giving new voice to a range of characters in surprising ways (Shakespeare’s Caliban show’s up at the US Navy’s nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll and a deceased Elvis speaks from the afterlife), the central obsession with how language can strike notes both high and low remains. Whoop & Shush calls out from worlds where words carry a physicality of the intensely observed but do not hesitate to sing their way, through metaphor, toward places where strange wonders counterbalance the starkly real.

About the Author

Jeff Baker

jeffbakerJEFF BAKER grew up on small farm in a place called Smokey Branch in the mountains of East Tennessee. He has earned degrees from Tennessee Tech and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. To pay his way through school, he worked in all the following sorts of factories: windshield, airplane seat, boat seat, refrigeration compressor, air bag, steering column, meat processing, mushroom, chocolate, and toothbrush. His poems have been published widely and have been anthologized in Best New Poets 2010 (Samovar Press) and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee (Texas Review Press).

At Chota: Flooded Cherokee Capitol

“. . . some of the tribes have become extinct
and others have left but remnants to preserve
for awhile their once terrible names.”

—Andrew Jackson to Congress, 1829  

The torched bush of the mind
Flickering out, thought
Flickering, becoming ash—
All night the lake read like a text
Written in watersnakes—
Bullfrogs, caught, sang
Death’s language—foxfire,
Loosed breath of the drowned
Nation—whose ground we walk on—
What ground—whose laments we pray
Will not kindle—stripped bark
Of night—these waters pressing
Into—these red rocks
Quarried from the mountainside—
Seaside—Ordovician
Sediment broke upward
And America rose—glacial
Phosphate of dead sea animals—
Volcanic and eroding—
Utica mud shale—Trenton
Limestone—manifold cephalopods
And jawless fish-like vertebrates
Pressed in stone—preserved
Between the layers—locks
Of hair in a family Bible—
Confederates boxed in the stone—
Burial mounds troved
By the men of the state—
Tennessee Valley Authority—
Hydroelectric Lethe-waters—
Rank shimmer over the lost
Grounds—Sequoyah’s syllabary’s
Lost ash—Cherokee glottal
Ghost-music bubbling-up—
Surfacing snapping-turtles—
Vicious, lethargic, prehistoric—
Mind out—it seemed each sunrise
Pressed its dire eye to a keyhole,
Beyond which memory—Mother—
Rose from her youthful bath,
Loosening her terrible jaw—

© 2015 Jeff Baker