Swift: New and Selected Poems (Paperback)
“Rich in observation, imagination and memory.” —New York Times Book Review
Gathering poems from eight collections along with a stunning suite of new poems, David Baker showcases the evolution of his distinct eco-poetic conscience, his mastery of forms both erotic and elegiac, and his keen eye for the shifting landscapes of passion, heartbreak, and renewal.
About the Author
David Baker’s many honors include fellowships and awards from the Poetry Society of America, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Poetry editor for the Kenyon Review and a professor at Denison University, Baker lives in Granville, Ohio.
This career retrospective reveals Baker as a peerless poet of the natural world who never stops trying to see things as if for the first time.
— New York Times Book Review
[Swift] affords a longitudinal view of a sensibility that is itself devoted to observing change over time.… To read Baker’s poems collected in this way is to appreciate the full range of their formal resources, their attunement to cycles and processes rather than to mere outcomes and effects.
— Dan Chiasson - The New Yorker
Baker’s poetic universe is a hushed, melancholy and at times ghostly place, haunted both by attachments to the past and by anxiety about its increasingly uncertain future.… [His] project, in large part, has been to help us hear the inaudible and see the invisible.
— Troy Jollimore - Washington Post
[Baker] endows the landscape of the Midwest and its wildlife with a cosmic radiance.… It would seem he carries around in his pocket a botanist’s field guide, tucks under his arm a scrolled bundle of star charts that put the galactic whorls at his fingertips, and keeps well stocked a shelf of volumes cataloging every species from the Asteroidea to red-tailed hawks.
— Floyd Collins - Gettysburg Review
Baker is as thoughtful a poet as anyone writing today. It is as if his thoughts grew out of his sensations, not the other way around. The difference is a difference indeed, and Swift is a testament to its possibilities.
— David Rigsbee - Cortland Review
David Baker is a virtuoso of the long poem.… Meditative, ecological, and sensitively attuned to the complex interplay of subjectivity and context, Swift expands what it means for a self to be in conversation with larger systems.… The voice sustaining this collection is a sonorous whole.
— Tyler Mills - On the Seawall
David Baker is a master of places defined by science and art.… Baker grabs his audience with poems that are accurate yet creative, precise yet profound.
— Andrew Jarvis - New York Journal of Books
These are poems to read slowly as a place for sitting—to escape into a daily meditation where the good and the beautiful are filled with surprise. Baker uses the page in new and traditional ways. These implications from the earth make clear our societal issues and our personal relationships, and you will be grateful that someone is speaking for you.
— Grace Cavalieri - Washington Independent Review of Books
Opening the book, fifteen new poems invite us into an ecopoetic vision of subtlety as well as clarity.… If you’re new to Baker’s work as I was, expect to enjoy its formal permutations; couplets, fragments, thin columns and often full pentameter lines are all tools to build his aviaries. Thematically, the selected works evoke a naturalist’s playful curiosity, a child’s love for his parents, and a humanist’s concern for the world.
— Nate Duke - Entropy
With each poem delicately and sturdily crafted, this collection creates one of the great spaces in American poetry.
— Booklist (starred review)