Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Blogtour: Naming Rites by Gary Boelhower

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Title: Naming Rites 
Author: Gary Boelhower 
Release Date: May 16th 2017 
Genre: Poetry

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Gary Boelhower’s third collection of poems explores the ways we are named and branded with multiple identities, a clay vessel molded and imprinted from the inside and the outside by those who know us or think they do, by wounds, worries, stones, and nicknames, by place and absence, by teachers and traitors. 
Boelhower dares to name the body’s blows and pleasures and how they are celebrated in solitude and connection. His language soars with ecstasy and burrows into hidden places in the soul. His lyrics tell how the world’s pain lodges in the cells and how the fragrance of summer stars opens an aperture to healing. 
Boelhower is winner of the Foley Prize from America and the Midwest Book Award for his second collection Marrow, Muscle, Flight.

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Find Naming Rites on Goodreads


Naming Rites is such a generous collection it offers both blessings and confessions, dirt and bread, miracles and explosions, cruelty and mercy, great blue herons who resemble monks and blue jays clowning around, a lover's tender touch and the horrors of the nightly news. In second grade, Gary Boelhower admits, he won 'the glow-in-the-dark statue of Mary,' and his religious drive, now mature, is still alive in these poems. They aim for (and often achieve) not just a personal record but transubstantiation, transforming experience into wisdom, fear into freedom, language into song. Naming Rites is the autobiography of a soul, reaching out beyond the boundaries of the self. Bart Sutter, author of Cow Calls in Dalarna and Chester Creek Ravine: Haiku

Gary Boelhower's poems resist convention and confinement even as they speak deeply of and from history, family, and community. The persona names and narrates himself into being as he chronicles profound and tender encounters as well as 'tectonic shifts and betrayals.' Software engineers meditate, children go hungry, and faith is lost and reconfigured. 'Let me not forget to be what I have spoken,' Boelhower reminds himself and his readers. Naming Rites is an important and sustaining book for our times, with its 'cadence that calls us into the streets with voices/of protest and hope.' Julie Gard, author of Home Studies



when I become head of homeland poetry
or director of the department of natural poetics
or czar of the world bank of words

I will create an army a loosely confederated
slightly crazy army of lyrical liars
trying to tell the truth

who march out of step
question every command
give out poems and lunch vouchers at the bus stops

wander the streets listening
how the tenderness of the heart tells its story
we will lurk in the shadows

made by the full moon
we will have uniforms
of every color and cut

yellow silk red satin cobalt corduroy
tutus and togas
short shorts and bell bottoms

some will be tunics tailored for star catching
or tight jackets of rhyme and meter
or long duster coats of leather and thirst

all embroidered with the shapes of birds
and smeared with the blood of the lost and the found
we will have weapons

wonder sharpened to the edge of dawn
improvised explosive laughter
questions strapped to our bodies

megatons of ammo metaphor
to rearrange reality
and demolish the temples of scarcity

mushroom clouds of prayers rising
carrying the cries
of betrayal and the incantations of light

we will learn the martial arts
dancing in the alleys of forgetfulness
and drumming on the dumpsters of need

standing in one place
in the postures of wonder
listening to the children sing with their whole bodies

we will unbuckle uncover unshackle
until the whispers on the fire escape
are amplified in the cathedrals

until the shattered dreams of the never heard
and the silent wishes of the children
are written in the laws of the land

we will hear the songs
of the children who even in their sleep
sing with their whole bodies

sing with their lips and bones and open hands
hold me hold me hold me now and the whole world around me
hold my body my river my wonder my wild

we will be the army of the lost and found
singing the songs of the children
in courthouses and senate chambers

singing their hunger and their hope
singing for their rivers and green valleys
singing for their bread

About the author:

Author Bio Gary Boelhower’s poetry has been published in many anthologies and journals. His second collection of poems published in 2011, Marrow, Muscle, Flight won the Midwest Book Award. He was awarded the Foley Prize in poetry from America magazine in 2012 and a career development grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council in 2010. His recent nonfiction books include Choose Wisely: Practical Insights from Spiritual Traditions, and Mountain 10: Climbing the Labyrinth Within,(co-authored with Joe Miguez and Tricia Pearce). His third collection of poems, Naming Rites, was published in April by Holy Cow! Press. Gary teaches courses in spirituality, ethics and leadership at The College of St. Scholastica where he is a professor in the Theology and Religious Studies Department.


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