Books

Paisley Rekdal: "I recognized the urge to capture,” Bickmore writes of Audubon’s gorgeous avian portraits, her own desire—like that of the naturalist—to catch a body in flight; to celebrate, in her case, human lives that, over time, both gain and lose memories, loved ones, spiritual beliefs, even a coherent sense of self. Bickmore’s beautiful poems are constantly aware of what lies just outside any individual’s eye, disappearing from view at the very moment of perception. There is no perfect “capturing” of a moment, whether in word or image, despite our deeply human desire to fix the world in memory. Thus the elegant poems ofEphemerist simultaneously celebrate and elegize, meditating on the uncomfortable relationship we’ve built between earthly loss and spiritual gain: part of transcendence’s paradox, which depends upon our losing some part of the world we love in order to gain a greater sense of it."

Scott Cairns: "In this collection, Ephemerist, Lisa Bickmore takes articulate stock of much that is passing before her eyes, and she presses both their presence and their passing for significance.  One happens upon brief consolations along this journey through momentary matter, but the bass note here is willingness, the connective tissue is hope, and the last word is light."

Andrea Hollander: " 'Who can make a true / record from life? Who can tell the story // fairly?' Lisa Bickmore asks. In poem after penetrating poem, she tries, and—in language at once memorable in its expressiveness and exact in its ability to describe what Bickmore sees and feels—she succeeds, all the time attentive to the world outside herself and sharply attuned to the inner lives of others. Few books of poetry, once consumed, leave me feeling “emptied . . . of nearly every desire,” but Lisa Bickmore’s fine collection is filled so abundantly with aesthetically, intellectually, and emotionally quenching poems that after my first journey through its pages, I felt no need to do anything other than read the book again for its myriad pleasures.

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Winner of the 2014 Antivenom Prize, from Elixir Press.

David Kirby: "What an apt title! For these poems really do start slowly and then flame into surprise; they’re full of poets, flame-colored cats, children in trees speaking riddles. We’re in a low-flying plane over an American of diners, small-town post offices, and blood banks, and pilot Lisa Bickmore is smiling over her shoulder at us as she dips toward the next orchard, the next insight."

 

Katherine Coles: “Flicker like a bird, flicker like a flame, flicker like a ghost or a motion caught in the corner of the eye—what beautiful poems these are, laden with grief, aflame with passion and regret, alight with love, alive. Whatever acts or words this speaker have to repent—and these poem are driven by penance, and to it—every word here redeems its own performance.”

Susan Smith Nash, in Weber Studies"There is an emotional intensity—an urgency—in Bickmore's writing that is all the more compelling because it is not positioned at the extremes of experience but lies within the realm of the ordinary and the everyday. Written in first person, [her] poems disarm the reader by seeming to be autobiographical vignettes which offer a glimpse into a private realm of deeply submerged feelings and fears. To achieve transparency is part of the artifice of these poems, and Bickmore's skill rests in creating a familiar ground." 

 

Joanna Brooks, author of The Book of Mormon Girl"I guess what I appreciate most in Haste is its urgency, the sense that what happens in houses matters, that it need not be exotic to be life-threatening, nor need it be perfect to save souls."

 

(out of print)

 

 

 

 

"Fire in the Pasture is an award-winning anthology that contains the poetry of eighty-two contemporary Mormon poets. It was compiled over a period of two years, beginning April 2009, and it was released October 15, 2011, by Peculiar Pages, an independent publisher of Mormon literature. All the poems in the collection were published between 2000 and 2011; several of the poems were published for the first time in Fire."

 

Here, editor Tyler Chadwick discusses 'Dog Aria,' a poem included in the anthology (also in flicker).

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background image: Tony Webster, 'Scattered Light at Northern Spark,' photograph of Jim Campbell's installation 'Scattered Light.' Used by permission under a Creative Commons License.