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Salvage: Poems

by  Bruce Lowry

Salvage: Poems, cover

The poet draws from glimpses, places and remembrances along life’s journey, stopping, on occasion, to observe the torments and joys of Southern boyhood, the grit and byways of New Jersey, and even one sensuous Italian sunset. Lowry salvages both the tragic and humane from any moment, allowing memories to “burrow themselves into tops / of plum trees …/ and rust of clothesline,” and yet be open to the darker, lyrical pages of life. As Michael Waters observes, these poems are “taut and imagistic, brimming with desire as a stay against mortality.”

Praise for Salvage

An autoethnography in verse, Salvage unfolds in one cinematic frame after another, keenly attuned to the power of detail to elevate the mundane and capture the socio-cultural landscapes that have shaped Lowry. He returns, in these poems, to a South where listening to “the sounds of tired hands” and music “banging” “from/rusted shovels,” learning to recognize “the false light,” and gazing into an “orphaned eye” morph into acts of honoring and reckoning with the past. Being with Lowry’s poems is like sitting in a vintage Cadillac at one of the few remaining drive-in theatres, new love at your side, old-time favorite on the screen, wishing time slowed down.
     —Mihaela Moscaliuc, author of Cemetery Ink (University of Pittsburgh Press)

With his forthright Salvage, Lowry smashes the binary of Louisiana boyhood and New Jersey dreamer-world. His central speaker tastes something sweeter than honey on a butter knife and blends it with a righteous, justice-minded redneck’s rage against the American machine. He’s listening to chamber music and sweating into grease rags and ironed linen. “When will the last monarch fall?” his central speaker wonders, teetering between heralding an “end to patriot dreams” and singing toward progress and hope. Reading Lowry is like standing over a seethe-boiling pot of fusilli and and following the spirals into the damaged hearts of American thruways and bayous, ditches and wine-glass reveries, and standing back, resolved, renewed.
     —Judith Vollmer, author of The Sound Boat: New and Selected Poems (University of Wisconsin Press)

"From the bayous of Louisiana to the waterfalls of New Jersey and the museums of New York, Lowry attempts to salvage memories of family and lovers from a past “when faith was valid.” Percy Sledge, Alice Neel and Walter Benjamin ghost through these poems in which “a grease rag… waving off a log truck” evokes “blood or birth / or both.” Taut and imagistic, brimming with desire as a stay against mortality, these poems are affective in their helplessness: “we offer ourselves as driftwood /and squint into the dying oil lamp.” Lowry writes as though he were sitting next to you on a barstool in a basement dive and you were his best and only companion.
     —Michael Waters, author of Caw (BOA Editions)

Please order this book through your favorite online retailer.
ISBN: 978-1-933974-48-4 / $16.00

© 2022, Ragged Sky Press