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Middle Island Press Release: Time Tacit by Rodney Nelson

It’s been a pleasure to work with one of North Dakota’s finest poets over the years, Rodney Nelson. He has many books of poetry in print (eight of which have been published through Middle Island Press) and Time Tacit will be his second book release in the year 2017.

Rodney Nelson’s unanticipated “late flowering” of poetry continues with Time Tacit. The components of his range remain unchanged in their changing: prairie, grove, woods, river, desert, canyon, mountain. But now there is a deeper sense of how they will be once people are gone and a more felt honoring of the moment the poet has been granted among them. Nelson thinks that Man arose to stem the overluxuriating of the planet. “You the Burner” is meant for whoever “know the geese/ are not other/ who have a gander/ within you and even so are meant/ and here to put all this to fire.” Yet despair does not come up.

Copies are available for purchase at Amazon.

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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in News & Reviews

 

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SPOTTING A “HIGH TRAIL ON THE POINT”

By Rodney Nelson

(This contribution was originally featured in Wolftree Magazine.)

to be read before the poem or during it

A poem does not come. It flies by, leaving not much residue but enough to work with when you sit down and write. You happened to be “on location” when you saw this one. The few sense data you got had to do with the trail you were on. At writing time (two days later in Fargo, North Dakota) it did not occur to you to use proper nouns. More about this below. Generic details would establish the kind of setting: “wooded ridge,” “midlake,” “trail,” and three trees of the north. The “white” you applied to each of the latter was accurate and also hinted of light and lack of undergrowth—a wooded ridge that let you see out. The time of year and the point in that time showed in the third stanza; and the next got to the pith of all backcountry walking, viz., that you don’t need to know where the trail will go or to pin a tag on it (because it may have a name that you have not yet heard). Your syntax became tricky in stanza five, which could be read in either of two ways: “to live on the rock/ of the windy point/ and be there—be here!”; or be here be there, whichever, it’s all one. It seems you already had been to the point and left the point, which you had, in that “here” and “there,” all one or not, were distinct. At the end you might have been watching the new moon—from camp?—and were glad to have avoided any manic human reactions to the full one.

the poem

HIGH TRAIL ON THE POINT

a one-mile narrow
and wooded ridge to
the point in midlake

but an open trail
in white cedar and
white pine and white spruce

summer coming down
to end among them
and at the water

this walk to open
another without
any name or with

to live on the rock
of the windy point
and be there be here

new moon tonight of
no glorying no
overdefining

to be read later

Robert Bly liked to make use of proper nouns, e.g., “in a wheat field outside of Madison, Minnesota”; and that is just what you do not want to do. It would ruin your tone and evoke a clutter of wrong associations. But now that the poem has been read, you can show all: Chase Point Trail between lakes Coon and Sandvik; Scenic State Park; Bigfork, Itasca County, Minnesota. Poetry is a life, a way you chose or were chosen to be. You do not need to adhere to a writing schedule, but you have to be ready when a poem flies through to write as much of it as you can. So you don’t write at the prompt of anything adventitious—not on assignment, not to theme (although you may look back and see a hitherto unnoticed thematic connection between or among certain poems)—and in fact you never plan ahead. When asked about something you have written, you are pleased to reread and remember. That’s all the compensation you want. You are unworried about the unreliability of what they used to call inspiration. Just go trekking around the woods and the prairies and the buttes as usual, and a poem will find you.

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(Rodney Nelson has a book forthcoming through Middle Island Press: Time Tacit. He also has many other books available online.)

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2017 in News & Reviews

 

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Hjemkomst by Rodney Nelson

The first Middle Island Press release of the year 2017: Hjemkomst (ISBN 978-0-9980732-6-2) by Rodney Nelson reads as a glimpse into the perceptions of a poet who has lived enough years to witness the perennial coming and going of the seasons with an understanding that the ways of the landscape are undying in contrast with human mortality. This is Nelson’s seventh title published by Middle Island Press, and it’s one of my personal favorites. We wish him many more!

(Readers can browse the interior and purchase copies of Hjemkomst at Amazon.com.)

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2017 in News & Reviews

 

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Middle Island Press Release: Billy Boy by Rodney Nelson

Billy Boy, North Dakota poet Rodney Nelson’s SIXTH Middle Island Press title, was released this month and is unique insomuch as its contents are more relaxed in theme and “reachable” likely to a broader audience. He says this about his new chapbook:

Nelson - Billy Boy Cover JPEG“Most often, my poetry tries to take the reader out to prairie and desert and mountain—“the sticks”—but on occasion it can wither into something that only a stickman might have written. Find evidence of this in the wry, dry sticks of Billy Boy. I attempted to bind them all together with a string of “action” poems. It didn’t work, but the pile of remains may be worth a laugh. Here’s one: While Billy Boy was going on, a health lapse turned once-mesomorphic me into a stickman.” –Rodney Nelson

Billy Boy is now available at Amazon.com where several pages can be previewed. Poets appreciate the support of readers!

 

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At Middle Island Press, we specialize in poetry and poetic prose.

 

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2016 in News & Reviews

 

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Cross Point Road by Rodney Nelson

(A Middle Island Press book release)

Nelson - Cross Point Road Cover JPEGNorth Dakota poet Rodney Nelson’s Cross Point Road (ISBN 978-0-6922-6780-6) is his fifth Middle Island Press title, his second full-length poetry book that we’ve published in the past several months.

It’s a beautiful collection on a variety of subjects. His work in general possesses a quiet sort of panache–sophistication without pretense–and with much to offer readers and poets who genuinely seek to improve their own craft. Nelson has decades of professional literary experience, and he pens his own personal experience in Cross Point Road.

From the Middle Island Press website:

Poet Rodney Nelson’s home region, the Red River prairie, has been called a valley but is in fact a seabed with hidden beaches rimming it. The native and restored grassland of Felton Prairie is up on one of these. Nelson walks there often and has borrowed its name for this collection of poems.

Copies can be purchased through the Middle Island Press website, Amazon.com and elsewhere online.

 

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2015 in News & Reviews

 

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Middle Island Press Release: Felton Prairie by Rodney Nelson

Nelson - Felton Prairie Cover JPEGAs we at Middle Island Press delve into the world of perfect-bound book-publishing, it’s with a glowing sense of accomplishment that we present North Dakota poet Rodney Nelson’s fourth Middle Island Press title, Felton Prairie.

Nelson’s home region, the Red River prairie, has been called a valley but is in fact a seabed with hidden beaches rimming it. The native and restored grassland of Felton Prairie is up on one of these. Nelson walks there often and has borrowed its name for this 105-page collection of poems which is available through the Middle Island Press website, and also through Amazon.com and elsewhere online.

A Kindle version will soon be available for download.

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2014 in News & Reviews

 

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Mollogon Picnic by Rodney Nelson

North Dakota poet Rodney Nelson has been actively compiling and publishing his poems for as long as I’ve known him. Aside from his two poetry collections published through Middle Island Press, he has several other titles available (to include his late 2013 release of Mollogon Picnic, a Red Dashboard publication).

Congrats on your fine work and determination to get your words in the hands of readers, Rodney! May they always be received with enjoyment…

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2014 in News & Reviews

 

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