Body and Blood

poems by Charlie Hughes


body and blood    charlie hughes
Body and Blood
may be obtained from your local bookstore, from on-line vendors such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or from the publisher.

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Charlie Hughes can write in a variety of forms, voices, and tones, as Body and Blood makes abundantly clear. You'll find the maddeningly difficult villanelle finessed, not just once but several times, prose poems, narratives, meditations, along with good ole boy wit. Hughes brings it all together like the story-teller and singer that he is. The work that touches me most rises out of his love of place, poems like "Lament for Mountains," "Melding," and "What Drives Them," poems that draw this book to a close. How appropriate, then, that Hughes closes this latest collection with "Elegy for Me," singing along with his fishing reel: "let me know finally the secrets / of water, / the twitch of rod, / the meaning / of each swirl and eddy, / let the reel sing with no backlash, / my monofilament arching out forever." What a perfect conclusion to a book so thoroughly and lovingly human in its vulnerability and its passions! 
                    — Kathryn Stripling Byer

Where Charlie Hughes is from holds us rapt with attention and yearning – attention to youth’s quilted landscape and decoder rings, yearning for the past and the too-soon passing – inexorable descent from perigee to apogee to “the time that is neither.” Hughes cocks eye and aim at the world’s absurdities while embracing all that’s right with the earth: the great sides of cows where he huddled for warmth, his mother at the treadle of her Singer, the sour soup of barn and feedlot. This elegiac collection’s deepening range should surprise no one familiar with his deceptive shallows, casting into sestina and villanelle, geology and fable. Punctuated by the misfiring of lost love, Farmalls, and flathead pickups, Hughes’s journey is our own as we finger the ageless stone in our pocket and settle into October dusk, as we take up these words in remembrance, the body’s blood still spry with hope and desire.
                    — Linda Parsons Marion