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Going with the Flow by Peter Siedlecki Now Available!

 Dying is an art Peter Siedlecki doesn’t want to master, yet such an exhilarating set of dialogues should be embraced, again and again. Going with the Flow is a book addressed to anyone who has concern over his own “going.” A poet-philosopher studying aging from the inside-out, Siedlecki explores the concept of old age in a vein similar to Plato’s dialectical method. “Swallow your made meanings,” the poet insists. There are moments of great humor, along with expressions of frustration and resignation. The realm of the earthly body is ever in flux, and treated with care in every situation and scenario.

—Jennifer Campbell


Crystalline would describe the language of Peter Siedlecki's Going with the Flow, an outstanding set of poetic essays chockfull of surprises.

—Jorge Guitart


With wry honesty and impressive skill, Peter Siedlecki contemplates aging and what will follow it. Yet the inevitably dark end of the life flow is punctuated here by the light of stars and beautiful women, jazz greats and baseball virtuosi, and the many vivid musings that make this book a celebration of life.

—Joan Murray


In memory, there was someone who asked me: do you know Peter Siedlecki, he has a big beard, and I heard he was one of the Road Vultures, and he is from the east side? I said, no, I didn’t know him, and the friend of mine who did said, you should. Fair enough. A head’s up. Then in the classroom where we both were poets in training, I had my ears peeled. In memory, I remember a line of one of Peter’s poems or it was a poem’s title, either or: the need to name things. Over these decades this line rings as clear as any poetry I have heard since. Need and naming are the poetics of Peter Siedlecki. I like that and Peter’s poems are brim full of poetry serving the need of living using understandable forms, i.e., words. “The thing is here,” he writes in Thing. It sure is! So, as the poet said, go, go with the flow.

— Michael Basinski


In these love poems to life, Peter Siedlecki does not merely go with the flow; he becomes the flow. Hearing the voices from the sea, he does not, like Prufrock, drown; rather, the voices cause him to love the beauties of his late years, “as only an old man could/when confronted by sea mist.” He learns: “Despite my despising,/I learn in the accumulation of/passing moments/to accept the thing,/to acclimate/to adapt.” Adapt, yes—but there is no compromise. He challenges life, and with rich humor. As he contemplates the end of magic in the death of a white pelican from the oil spill of human greed, he nevertheless also contemplates and meditates upon “once more/appearance and reality” and invites us into this process. Denise Levertov said that “contemplate” and “meditate” “connote a state in which the heat of feeling warms the intellect. We leave the volume thus warmed, readier to confront our own passing years—as he writes at the end of the book, “what each of us needs/to make the darkness pass.”

—David Landrey

Peter Siedlecki is Professor Emeritus and also currently holds the title of Poet in Residence at Daemen College in Amherst, NY. He is director of the Readings at the RIC poetry series and director of the Catherine Parker Artists’ Salon. He has been a Fulbright Senior Lecturer in both Poland and the former German Democratic Republic. His previous collection of poems is titled Voyeur.


Book Information:

· Paperback: 112 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-190-0

$16

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Going With the Flow by Peter Siedlecki Book Preview

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Going with the Flow by Peter Siedlecki reviewed on GALATEA RESURRECTS #23

 

GOING WITH THE FLOW by PETER SIEDLECKI

JENNIFER CAMPBELL Reviews
Going with the Flow by Peter Siedlecki
(BlazeVOX Books, New York, 2014)
Going with the Flow is a book addressed to anyone who has concern over his own “going.” A poet-philosopher studying aging from the inside-out, Peter Siedlecki explores the concept of old age in a vein similar to Plato’s dialectical method. Standout poems such as “Deciding to Retire,” “Child’s Play: A Retirement Poem,” and “On Receiving a Mailing from Forest Lawn” represent various iterations of the theme. There are moments of great humor, along with expressions of frustration and resignation. As in Plato’s Theory of Forms, the poems reveal the temporal in an attempt to understand the immutable archetypes that provide order and structure to the world. In the title poem, which is the first poem in the collection, Siedlecki offers the reader the first of many contradictions: is aging “a sad death of summer” that happens in gorgeous “blazes of color”? Inconsistencies are brought to light by the poet; the aging man wants “to connect to antiquity” yet concedes “I will die, and you will wail / and misremember me as perfect.”
Even as the poet leads the reader through his study with logic, he grants in “More Theology”:
          We have reasoned god out,
          with our “Thees” and “Thous”
          only because reason is what we have 
          to turn into whatever we need,
          the bricks and mortar
          of which we build
          the most absurd structures.
In fact, some poems are structured primarily from questions, in a modern Socratic method—“Untimely Death” is an effective example of this technique:
            
            When is death timely?
            when it comes like a chemical
            to kill the hideous worm
            devouring the victim from within?
            Or when, in the midst of dark storms
            and hideous worms, it comes to stifle
            the dear memory of lilacs?
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