Tuesday, June 5, 2007

BLACK STONE by Dale Smith

6x8, 80 pages, perfect bound
isbn 0-9794745-0-7

Black Stone is a work of such beauty, it makes me tremble. Dale Smith, a poet and citizen of earth, creates a whole cloth composed of the personal and the political. Set in Austin, Texas, during Bush's endless siege on human rights and democracy, this master work documents the birth and first few weeks of his newborn babe's life against the backdrop of anxiety and war.
Brenda Coultas
This is a book written from a man living on the other side of Texas -- the state of heightened awareness, exposed roots, and unearthed secret stones. It is a chilling narrative that confronts the terrifying mysteries of childbirth and the shroud of daily life that holds and sustains this most intimate act. Like the constantly shifting belly of his wife, this is a book that moves between essay and poetry, consciousness and dream, and the deeper threads that connect daily life to the marvelous. But there is also the presence of horror -- the political situation of these dark ages, with all its wars, alarms, and demands for action. I'm hesitating to write about the emotional intensity and sensitivity of this book -- is it amazing that this book was written by a man, a father who, through this writing, attempts to experience and protect the inner life of his wife by bringing forth his own dark child? This is a book of daring consciousness battling with the dark ages -- it struggles against its own clarity because language is a rooted thing, and our minds must be dirty to be in it, to tend those twisty, crusted branches. And yet, this struggle documents Smith's stand --a brave and intimate book by one of our finest poets.
Kristin Prevallet
Refusing to make it lovely, Dale Smith logs a descriptive notation of presence to the world as stomp, shift, and quick adjustment to the “rush of every day things.” (When the child suggests, Let’s follow that buzzard, so you do, “sort of.”) On every page, the world opens to the body and the body to the world. Smith simultaneously narrates his wife’s pregnancy and the thickness of
event (as ideality, language, culture, personal memory, familial intimacy); the birth of their second son and the emergence of that shared context of inseparable meanings and relationships by which we orient ourselves toward place and others. He never looks away. Reading him, neither do I.
Forrest Gander


Effing Press

Austin, TX

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