Alphabet of Bones is a collection of poems born out of the poet’s long engagement with the natural world—as gardener, shepherd, activist, and as a mortal human being whose bones will one day return to dust. Set in the context of unprecedented violence against nature—as living cultures are reduced to archeology—these poems take the long view, insisting on a deep ecological memory, and an awareness that our stories will be told through the landscapes we leave behind. From the pastoral landscape to the arctic tundra, these poems trace the discovery of the luminous in the shadows of loss. “We must leave a message,” the poet asks. “But in what language will we speak?”
Praise for Alphabet of Bones
Alexis Lathem’s Alphabet of Bones has been a long time coming. I know as much from following her work since its early and already striking examples. The wait was entirely worth it. Ever conscious of extinction and threats of extinction, human and natural, Lathem nonetheless gives us hope by way of her lyric clarity, her stunning eye for detail, and her moral persuasiveness. Even in her quietly apocalyptic central poem, “Book of the Sixth,” to my mind the volume’s tour de force– even– or perhaps or especially– there, we think, This is what human sensibility remains capable of at its finest!
–Sydney Lea, Poet Laureate of Vermont, author of I Was Thinking of Beauty, A North Country Life: Tales of Woodsmen, Waters and Wildlife, Pursuit of a Wound, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, and To the Bone: New and Selected Poems, co-winner of the 1998 Poets’ Prize.
Alexis Lathem’s poems are steeped in patient observations and a deep comprehension of the grace and tragedy of human life, of the mysteries of the natural world, and our fragile place within it. Perhaps most of all these poems are shaped by an understanding of the power of language — its music as much as its meaning. Alphabet of Bones is a grave, beautiful accomplishment.
—Jane Brox, author of Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light, named one of the top ten nonfiction books of 2010 by Time magazine; Five Thousand Days Like This One, a 1999 finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction; and Here and Nowhere Else, winner of the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award.
Wind Ridge Books & Voices of Vermonters invite you to a launch gala.
Saturday, September 26: 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Arts Riot, 400 Pine St. Burlington
Free admittance, refreshments, cash bar
Announcing The Vermeer Suite and Alphabet of Bones
Wind Ridge Books and Voices of Vermonters Publishing Group will launch two provocative new books of poetry during the upcoming Burlington Book Festival.
Pushcart Prize-winner Daniel Lusk will read from his new collection The Vermeer Suite, poems inspired by the beloved masterworks of 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, and Alexis Lathem will read from Alphabet of Bones.
Coming to bookstores this fall.