Quiver: Poems


Product Details

$21.95  $20.41
Texas Review Press
Publish Date
5.43 X 8.43 X 0.32 inches | 0.25 pounds

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About the Author

LUKE JOHNSON's poems can be found at Kenyon Review, Narrative Magazine, Florida Review, Frontier, Cortland Review, Nimrod, Thrush, and elsewhere. You can find more of his poetry at lukethepoet.com.


"Scorching and illuminating, Johnson's fearless language quivers like a flame--lighting a thin, hopeful path through the bleakness; flickering as the reader peers close, ready to burn."
--Ben Groner III in Whale Road Review
--Ben Groner III "Whale Road Review"
"[Quiver] dissects the journey from boyhood to adulthood and fatherhood whilst steering the reader through the choppy waters of self-realization. . . . I strongly urge you to read this powerfully written collection of poetry that is brimming with formidable craft and a dynamic narrative that engages the reader beyond the page."
--A. R. Arthur in Full House Literary--A. R. Arthur "Full House Literary" (10/1/2023 12:00:00 AM)
"Maybe you didn't grow up in a family like the one in this book. I did, so let me assure you Luke Johnson got it right: the ferocious longing to pour understanding and generosity over their stories, to admit complicity, to intervene retroactively to protect something, to save someone, anyone. To smash beauty against the story again and again, trying to force it to alchemize into something that can be borne."
--Patrick Donnelly, author of Little-Known Operas, Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin, and The Charge--Patrick Donnelly
"In Quiver, Luke Johnson's unforgettable debut poetry collection, he invokes The Old Testament, its fires, floods, and prophecies--to reckon with 'all the ways a child drowns, like spiders trapped in spit.' These are harrowing poems. Yet, at the heart of Johnson's unsparing gaze lies enormous compassion--for the ghosts that haunt him, for the child self who carried 'scars without witness.' Quiver is a work of glorious complexity--brutal, lyrical, shot through with images that stop you in your tracks. But more than that, these poems look deeply at the ways the sins of the father are visited on successive generations and move toward breaking the cycle."
--Ellen Bass--Ellen Bass
"Quiver is the most visceral, haunting book of poems I have read in years. Johnson reimagines masculinity and is unafraid to unearth its dark elements, as father, son, and witness to the brutality and beauty in and around us. He writes, 'Listen: When/I said boys have a storm inside, /this itch that fills our teeth, I/was sharing in secret. I meant/we have mothers who gift us ghosts, /our heads upon a trigger.' This searing debut is a world of its own, built with fearlessness, tenderness, and grace. Take notice. Luke Johnson has arrived."
--Lee Herrick, California Poet Laureate
--Lee Herrick
"In Quiver, Luke Johnson's inventive eye and sonorous voice seek to 'pry the past apart.' These poems pursue an allusive quietude beyond trauma and tragedy as wide-eyed, we witness a bruised boy become a tender father. Johnson's impressive debut collection stares into sorrow, but doesn't leave us to linger there. Instead, we swallow the darkness so we can breathe in the light."
--Matt Rasmussen--Matt Rasmussen
"In Quiver--which, implausibly, is his first full volume--Luke Johnson cements his title as the uncontested master of shadow. These unnerving poems are the rustle in a vast and unrelenting dark, they are both salve and injury to the body, they are numbing slap and uneasy solace. The poet trains your eyes upon things you never wished to see--and holds you there, with chilling narrative and fierce lyric, until terror gives way to beauty. Am I saying...? Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying--Quiver will change the way you see."
--Patricia Smith, author of Unshuttered: Poems
"Quiver is a rare creation full of song and scar, authenticity and Old Testament mythology, of emotional complexity and witness. In a world where empathy is under threat of erasure, these poems of prophetic violence and harmful lineages take responsibility for themselves and remind us of our own responsibilities to each other. These poems both define and push against the edges of our shared American experience. At its heart, Quiver paints a multifaceted portrait of personal and communal betweenness. These poems choose to celebrate everything they touch. Even their own ghosts. Even that greater truth that always remains just slightly out of reach, that he refuses to stop reaching toward."
--John Sibley Williams, author of Scale Model of a Country at Dawn
"In Quiver, Luke Johnson's startling first book, the poems are singing when they are stinging, scalding as they serve up something wildly fresh, slap after exquisite slap. These poems show us how vulnerability bleeds, and what it sees when it does. There is no soft peddling this poetry, with its faith, its strife, and such uncommon artistry."
--Elaine Sexton, author of Drive