A Northern Spring
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About the Author
This book expands, expounds and grows even while it chronicles life in a world contracted by plague and politics. A couple traveling at the beginning of the pandemic must dine in public but they eat with joy, like it's the end of the world. Fear of being stranded abroad by a travel ban gives way to fears of what it means to be always at home. Observation satiates, these poems suggest, where other appetites for touch and fellowship must be suppressed. Then, in the 2020 unrest of Minneapolis, the world begs witness, and these poems continue to see. It's remarkable the way Mauch can focus on two subjects at once-Covid19 and 9/11, The Troubles in Ireland and fractured US politics. As he shifts between distant observation and intimate experience, he's like an optometrist asking of each lens "Which is better, this...or this?" It's maybe not all better, but the past few years become a bit more focused for reading these poems.- Heid E. Erdrich, author of Little Big Bully, editor of New Poets of Native Nations
Mauch's movement between genres & forms, poetry & prose, calls attention to the ruptures of lyric time, ruptures apparent in his subject matter: the Belfast Troubles, the coronavirus pandemic, the murder of George Floyd-hybridity as subversion of verse, against the procedures of prose. However, just as humans break through this cordon sanitaire, so might humanity: this collection also tries to connect us, blur genre & even grammar, to turn violence toward justice, a true revolution.- Heidi Czerwiec, author of Fluid States and Crafting the Lyric Essay: Strike a Pose
A Northern Spring is a book unlike any other, a missive from the plague spring of 2020 that captures the strangeness and immediacy of world falling into silence, of voyagers trying to return from abroad-paused in the amber of lockdown and the liminal spaces of travel-only to return to a city on fire: Minneapolis in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Part memoir, part needle-skipping-in-its-groove travelogue, part collection of lyric poetry, Mauch juxtaposes agile musings on the Troubles in Belfast with frontline anecdotes from the protests, and when we shift from his evocative prose into poetry, it's as if his dispatches have broken open into a murmuration of starlings. Infectiously readable, A Northern Spring is a beautifully unsettled text for a poignantly destabilized world.
- Michael Bazzett, author of The Echo Chamber, translator of The Popol Vuh