Amy Nawrocki, whose spare, taught poems focus on natural and man-made objects — birds’ eggs, spinning wheels, trees –- as a means to consider grand, sweeping themes of birth, death, life, and renewal, turns her attention to art in Reconnaissance, her latest collection of poetry to be released in April 2015, National Poetry Month.
Nawrocki is a senior lecturer at the University of Bridgeport’s Department of English and the award-winning author of five poetry collections and three Connecticut history books.
To preorder Reconnaissance (Homebound Publications) or to attend one of Nawrocki’s upcoming readings, please visit http://amynawrocki.org.
In Reconnaissance, Nawrocki considers all manner of artistic inspiration. How are artists, be they painters, musicians, or writers, inspired, and how, in turn, do their work affect others? Where can art be found? Who can be called an artist?
Nawrocki’s poems transport readers to museums, curated bookshelves, and to unexpected sources of creativity: a sunflower tattoo (a nod to Van Gough’s sunflowers), obtained while she’s accompanied by a friend who later dies in a freak accident (“we wanted to ink into the eternal”) becomes “the story I kept hidden,” a mini life work etched on skin.
Nawrocki continues: “One of van Gogh’s sunflowers [dies] inside me, just beneath my ribs,” suggesting the visceral desire to create touches all of us in ways that are broader and deeper than we might first imagine.
Midwest Book Review urged Nawrocki’s readers to “drink deeply: this free verse wellspring is vivid and thought-provoking.” Connecticut State Poet Laureate Dick Allen calls Reconnaissance “a warm, rich, valuable, and important collection.”
Can’t wait to get your copy of the book? Read an excerpt below, a poem entitled “Guided Tour.”
by Amy Nawrocki
Memorize a few loose-leaf pages,
note important dates with precision. Mention
the children by name and explain the heritage
of the highboy in the parlor—cherry, late 18th century,
brass fixtures replacements, not original.
Demonstrate the peculiar habits
of instruments placed with emphasis
around the house: pretend to fill
the tin-top foot warmers with hot coals,
mimic the dipping of candle wicks
in and out of their molds, smile coyly
as you tighten the rope mattress
with the antique bed key the way
someone would have two hundred years ago.
At times you recognize a twinge
of inaccuracy in the script, something
tinkering toward futility escaping
in your voice. And for a few minutes
as you watch visitors wave back
on their way to the car you wonder
if a pleasant tone and a few lucky cobwebs
are enough to recapture the history of a farmhouse
or of inhabitants who never seem to leave
enough behind. The past seems repetitive
until a blind man who need help placing
his feet up stone steps, bends into a prayer pose
and touches the floor’s pine planks
with both hands. Through the kitchen
and side bedrooms, past looms and the old
rocking horse, he feels his way and measures
distances with small steps. He knows
without being told that we’ve returned
to the front entrance, “where we started.”
Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625, firstname.lastname@example.org