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The Near and Far, Poems by Jody Bolz

Ardent and future-haunted, The Near and Far reckons with love’s central bewilderments: the distance within intimacy, the dangers of safety, the rupturing and renewing effects of time. Jody Bolz asks where “the world” starts—and how to locate our private lives, with their passing joys and failures, within it.

Sample Poems by Jody Bolz


“In this beautifully understated yet vividly detailed collection, Jody Bolz traces the ‘near and far’ history of a family—both her own and everyone’s—presenting it as ‘a kingdom whose partitioning / anyone can chart.’ Furnishing a house, planting a garden, coping with a threatening stranger, watching the children grow: all these experiences, usual and unusual, are transfigured in the unfaltering light of memory, as what is becomes what was, ‘the scene itself a bright scrap / flaring in your hand.’ A moving and luminous book.” —Sandra M.Gilbert

“Intimacy became vast when the troubadours coined the term ‘loin-près,’ the one who is both distant and close: love was gratification but equally the ache of living with the unattainable. That ecstatic grief, that difficult joy, sings in the pages of Jody Bolz’s new book—but her canvas is contemporary, her love arguably more real, familial, immune to fantasy. While ‘Near’ and ‘Far’ spell out their meanings in polarities—self and self-image, time as mystery or process—there’s a unifying insight, though Bolz lives her truths rather than positing them. Love in its very precariousness (its ‘vanishing unstoppable’) is the fact of our lives.The Near and Far is major work from a superb poet.” —D. Nurkse

“Time becomes Jody Bolz’s great theme in these searing, spare poems about domestic love. Metaphors from the natural world illuminate the human realm: ‘Spring begins in increments / like knowledge // or despair,’ one poem opens—concluding ‘April presses in with its / onslaught of promises.’ And when Bolz evokes the ageless image of a family gathered by a fire, ‘the airy errant thrumming of the flames’ delivers an abiding music. I cherish what this poet has to teach about intimacy, how one life joins with others. Wise, deep, insistent on the complexities, these poems astonish with their provident beauty.” —Robin Becker

Jody Bolz is the author of A Lesson in Narrative Time (Gihon Books, 2004) and Shadow Play (Turning Point, 2013). She received her MFA from Cornell University, where she studied with A.R. Ammons, and taught creative writing for more than twenty years at George Washington University. Her poems have appeared widely in literary magazines (The American Scholar, North American Review, Ploughshares, Poetry East, and Prairie Schooner among them) and poetry anthologies, including Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology (University of Georgia Press, 2018). Bolz edited Poet Lore, America's oldest poetry journal, from 2002 to 2019. Among her honors are grants from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and the Maryland State Arts Council.

ISBN: 978-1625493255, 122 pages, $20.00

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