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In Memory of a Banyan Tree: Poems of the Outside World: 1985 to 2022
Three Wooden Trunks
The Country Where Everyone’s Name Is Fear: Selected Poems
  Jason Gray

ISBN 978-0-9991994-3-5     $18  /  $21 (Canada)     5.5 x 8.5       

80 pp      
PUB DATE: April 2019       Book Release Featured Poetry


Apocalyptic, cautionary, but ultimately redemptive, Jason Gray’s poems force us to face up to years of natural and human degradation committed in the name of progress. “If only the metal / Would melt then maybe so would time,” the poet writes, but of course time doesn’t bend to our wishes; rather, it inscribes our faces and minds with the truth of our deeds, especially those we’d wish to erase. Indeed, these taut poems praise the concreteness of the world—its physics and our physicality—with intelligence and music that are hard to find these days, when so much of contemporary verse seems beholden to overwrought conceptual designs or ready-made narratives. If you wonder what happened to the unassuming voice of the poet full of awe and doubt, or yearn for poems resembling, to paraphrase another poet, matches lit in the dark, then Radiation King should be at the top of your reading list. Jason Gray’s work is the wave that “flashes its white / Smile / Right before it sweeps / You under.” And this book, a small masterpiece of love and devotion to everything that makes the universe fantastic, is that apple that the poet wishes to see “rise into the tree.”

 —Piotr Florczyk, Final Judge for the Idaho Prize for Poetry 2018


In his Radiation King, Jason Gray writes, “Atoms really are/ Perfection:/ tiny/ movers, brilliant gods,” but he might as well be describing the poems in this awe-inspiring collection. Each line, each word, is “tipped with fire.” Radiation King speaks to darkness and light, to the past and the future, to myth and fact, to faith and science, to ruin and hope. When I say the poems are true, I do not mean they are factual, though there is certainly science and history at work here. I mean they are to be believed.

 —Maggie Smith


About the Author

Jason Gray

Jason Gray is the author of Photographing Eden, winner of the 2008 Hollis Summers Prize, and published by Ohio University Press. He has also published two chapbooks, How to Paint the Savior Dead (Kent State University Press, 2007) and Adam & Eve Go to the Zoo (Dream Horse Press, 2003). His poems have appeared in Poetry, The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Literary Imagination, Poetry Ireland Review, and many other places. He has also reviewed poetry, nonfiction, and fiction for The Southern Review, The Missouri Review, Shenandoah, The Journal, and elsewhere. His poems have been anthologized and reprinted on Verse Daily. Besides writing, he spends time taking pictures of things.



He took the watch apart. The snowflake gears,
Too delicate for hands his size, bend and
Entangle on the table. If only the metal
Would melt then maybe so would time.

The leather band has faded to a pale urine.
The watch had been his father’s,
Worn at the Bulge. The gears malfunctioned
When he hurled the watch to slow

Time down—it only stopped. There are just
So many revolutions. Telomeres clip
And age us, but death is not a rabbit
Pulled from your coat on a crowded subway.

—Jason Gray