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Circle Back
Circle Back by Adam Clay
by Adam Clay

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Event with Adam Clay and Todd Osborne
Saturday, April 27th at 12:00pm

Signed. Paperback.
Price: $16.00

Availability: Pre-Order

La Vergne, TN: Milkweed Press | IPS (March 12, 2024)

Paperback. Signed.

An aching meditation on the cyclical nature of grief and memory’s limited capacity to preserve everything time takes from us.

How does one make sense of loss—personal and collective? When language and memory are at capacity, where do we turn? Confronted with “a year meant to end all / those to come,” acclaimed poet Adam Clay questions whether anything is “wide enough to contain what’s left / of hope.” In the absence of a clear way forward, the poems of Circle Back wander grief’s strange and winding path. Along the way, the line between reality and dreams blurs: cows stare with otherworldly eyes, 78s play under cactus needles, a father becomes his own child, and the dead become something more complicated—a “sketch turned to painting / left in a room dusty from / lack of passing through.”

But amidst these liminal landscapes, a “thread of promise” persists in poetry. As flawed as language is, we still turn to it for longevity, for love, like “Keats, / sketching himself back into place.” Vulnerable and nuanced, Clay details the difficult work of healing—and in doing so, captures those needful moments of reprieve in grief’s “strange circle.” Two friends dashing through a sprinkler. A garden of startled birds. Out for a run some gray morning: a sudden patch of wildflowers. Circle Back is a bared heart, one readers will find as thoughtful as it is tender.

Adam Clay is the author of five collections of poems: Circle Back, To Make Room for the Sea, Stranger, A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World, and The Wash. His work has appeared in Boston Review, Ploughshares, Cincinnati Review, jubilat, Georgia Review, and elsewhere. A recipient of a Literary Arts Fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission, he teaches at the University of Southern Mississippi and edits Mississippi Review.

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