A Little Salvation

Poems Old and New

Title Details

Pages: 176

Trim size: 5.250in x 8.000in

Formats

Paperback

Pub Date: 09/25/2007

ISBN: 9-780-8203-3038-9

List Price: $19.95

Related Subjects

POETRY / American / General

A Little Salvation

Poems Old and New

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  • Description
  • Reviews

This new collection from acclaimed novelist and poet Judson Mitcham features poems from the last twenty-five years, including forty new works and poems from his previously published collections, Somewhere in Ecclesiastes (1991) and This April Day (2003). Wise, witty, and deceptively plainspoken, Mitcham's poems show how the moments that truly save us-that make us human-are necessarily the most fleeting. It is up to us, he reminds us, to create meaning from those moments, and in doing so to create our own salvation.

The transitory nature of human experience is both the boon and the bane of the existence of the speakers in these poems, and every poem seems to recognize its own temporality, trying to find meaning rather than a definitive answer to the questions it raises. The tone of these poems combines a strong sense of humor with a pervasive feeling of loss, both celebrating and mourning that "a true note is still so hard to hit." These voices revel in the human condition even as they are often saddened by it.

While Mitcham's background and settings are distinctly southern, his interests extend far beyond the regional. He intimately understands the problems and the people of the South but recognizes that these are, above all, human problems and human beings. His poems evoke Flannery O'Connor, Otis Redding, the Bible, and the Baptist Church, but they also respond to Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, and the death of Jacques Derrida.

Mitcham can startle you with your own joyful laughter in the middle of a heartbreaking lyric. His poems not only benefit from the sense of timing a good storyteller has to have (and Mitcham is a superb storyteller), but also from the novelist's ear for authentic speech. I envy this gift, and the way he flirts with form-the villanelle, the sonnet, and the ghazal are here either in the flesh or as ghostly echoes-while keeping his rhythm vernacular and musical.

—Mark Jarman, author of To the Green Man: Poems

How grand it is to have A Little Salvation with bright, resonant new poems like 'Gift' and 'Praise,' along with trusted familiars like 'Wonder' and 'Somewhere in Ecclesiastes'. Judson Mitcham is just exactly the right poet to depict 'the nowhere that we are traveling through' as well as the 'everlasting never that might have been.' Every line he writes is as truthful as brook water

—Fred Chappell, author of Dagon

It is hard to overpraise A Little Salvation, for you can't make too much of poems that are true, tender, decent, funny and forgiving. A two-lane in Georgia should be named for Judson Mitcham.

—Michelle Boisseau, author of Trembling Air

Throughout, well-ordered words provide meaning and pleasure if not always something as monumental as salvation.

—Atlanta

About the Author/Editor

JUDSON MITCHAM's poems have appeared in Poetry, the Georgia Review, and Harper's. His novels, The Sweet Everlasting and Sabbath Creek, are both winners of the Townsend Prize for Fiction. He teaches writing at Mercer University.