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The Letting Go by Bill King

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Bill King teaches English at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia.  His doctorate is from the University of Georgia. After publishing many individual poems, Bill King has created his first collection. It is attractively packaged with a gorgeous cover photo of art work by Lisbet Okun. These important and compelling poems never stray far from the phenomena of the natural world while connecting nature’s ways to hospitalization, to teaching, to family, and beyond. West Virginia’s poet laureate, Marc Harshman, avers, “In this book I am continually struck by King's remarkable attention to detail: ‘the barbed wire / that stitched the hem / of old man Warner's field...’ or a robin that ‘runs upright like a butler, / then bends, as if bowing...’ Such wonderful imagery is harnessed not only to reveal the natural world, however, but the ins and outs of raising children, the challenges of illness, and what it means to bear witness to tragedy. There are, for instance, powerful poems here describing the horrific devastation wrought by mountain-top removal mining, poems whose testimony is deeply moving. These marvelous poems charged with closely-observed imagery and fueled by such a care-filled spirit should gain for Bill King's poetry a deservingly wide and lasting readership.” And the lady who may well be considered the “Dean” of West Virginia poetry, Maggie Anderson, adds, “Bill King's poems are so precisely enacted that to read them is to feel our thighs pumping bike petals, to surge with the jonquils breaking spring soil. He writes with the deep intelligence that knits the natural world to metaphor and gives us a usable model for how to love this mortal place even as we know we are leaving it. I admire these poems very much. They are healing; they ‘carry the wounded skyward.’”

Georgetown, Kentucky: Finishing Line Press, 2018. 36 pages.  Hardback in dust jacket and trade paperback