Dream Horse Press

Fire Road

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Barbara Siegel Carlson's Fire Road

ISBN 978-1-935716-18-1

Praise for Fire Road


"'Spinoza is rubbing my glasses again, leaving / the middle range blurred for a reason. / Any truth is a blur,' Barbara Carlson begins one poem, then carries us to Spinoza’s periphery with Miro, Chekhov and Jesus in quick order. Truth is not only a blur, but what we find in the unexpected. It is the 'haunting music' in all that is unmusical, but out of which this essential book of poems creates an essential music. Ranging from Hungary and Slovenia, across the US continent, from Orpheus and Schubert the everyday world of love and death, Carlson gives speech to the 'unspoken.' Yes, we are driven up a Fire Road that is rarely travelled except by hikers and emergency vehicles and we find ourselves in the uncanny position of both wondering and mending, of discovering that 'the light of dead stars / is full of gusts and grace.' All of which is to say this is an amazing first book, a wonder, a book I dearly cherish."
 Richard Jackson


"Carlson evokes blindness, deafness, and muteness over and over in Fire Road. Speechless yet compelled to speak, she works to articulate the surreal, kaleidoscopic world around her. In the process she discovers that 'If the words make you mute your soul will be fed.' A soul is seeking – and not always finding – its mate in the universe but Carlson’s courage pushes her on. Reading this sojourner’s book the boundaries of my own world dissolved and another universe was revealed."
Tam Neville


"The poems of Barbara Carlson follow in the now-quite-venerable tradition of surrealism. They are poems where the world of dream and of the world of our quotidian lives comingle and coexist. But Carlson is never interested in the easy pyrotechnics and associative glibness which so often characterize poems that nod to the surrealist tradition. Instead, she offers her mysteries in a voice that is quiet, humble, humane, and the best of the work recalls certain moments in the lyrics of Bishop, Ritsos, and Follain, poets whose greatness lies in making what is homemade seem strange, and what is strange seem matter-of-fact. These are bracing and durable poems, and their delights and insights are many."David Wojahn


  About the Author:

Barbara Siegel Carlson grew up in Cranford, New Jersey. She is a graduate of University of Rhode Island and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Program. She is co-translator, with Ana Jelnikar, of Look Back, Look Ahead Selected Poems of Srecko Kosovel and the author of the chapbook Between this Quivering. Her poems and translations have appeared in NOR (New Ohio Review), The Carolina Quarterly, Asheville Poetry Review, The Literary Review, Mid-American Review, Cutthroat, Prairie Schooner, Agni and elsewhere. She lives in Carver, Massachusetts.


  From Fire Road:





An iceberg 6 times the size of Manhattan has just broken free.

Radioactive boars are running around parts of Germany.

In the library parking lot you pick up a clear

plastic leaf the size of a thumbnail. It gleams like the silver

wheels of teeth around the well drilling place. Where’s the light

when you point at an empty spot in the galaxy?

Your eyes reflect those myriads opening into a prayer

like sex—a deer that can smell water from miles away.

Why did the Native woman believe her soap could lift a tumor

like a small rock out of a man’s cheek? The fence section

encloses nothing. Do you hear the soul creeping upstairs?

How can you kiss the mind of the one who threw a flaming wad of

toilet tissue into the stall where a black girl sat— you, flames

of the heart licking through—Boy, why did you let go of the other

boy’s hand before he dove into the quarry? Who dreams

out your eyes? A shopping cart lies at the bottom.



Fire Road

Copyright 2013 Barbara Siegel Carlson

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