Winner of the Colorado Book Award;
Winner of the Willa Literary Award
As heard on Public Radio International's The Writer's Almanac!
Full of music and evocative word play, Veronica Patterson's Swan, What Shores? offers alluring poems varied in form and inventive in approach. In language that is both precise and lyrical, Patterson's work, like much of the best poetry, plumbs the human condition with depth, wit, and, above all, compassion.
The poems offer fine surprises, from the lyrical litany of "The Riddle of My Want" ("the stride of your eyes / a summering of skin") to the unusual elegy "Three Photographs Not of My Father" to the mysteries embodied in "Where Are My Swans?": "All movement in their dreams is theirs / that glide-without-haste, for what core of the universe / has to hurry?"
Swan, What Shores? marks the blossoming of a major poetic talent.
"Characterized by remarkable invention and wit, in rare combination with philosophical depth and genuine feeling, Swan, What Shores? is carefully put together—admirably coherent, though varied with novel excursions in form. Autobiographical references provide continuity and humanity, but the collection never threatens to become confessional. . . . This is a book that deserves wide circulation. It is subtle, substantial, surprising, and appealing."-Leonard Trawick,Emeritus Professor and former editor, Cleveland State University Poetry Center
"In this fine new book, Veronica Patterson continually lifts up her swan in the arc of flight so that the poems keep echoing a language that struggles to speak of death, of love, of the two together, and of words themselves striving toward an utterance which may carry the music of a swan song yet which arises in this very life touched by joy and playfulness and wonder."—, -Mary Crow,poet laureate of Colorado and author of I Have Tasted the Apple