In Boisvert’s world, horses sprout from seeds and fawns fall out of the sky. And a whole day may pass where all we do is take turns holding brightly-colored babies swaddled in white towels. But inside that day is the quiet reminder that not all our children survive. Though sometimes as a minotaur and sometimes as a tree, the speaker in these poems moves through surreal plots and landscapes which, when read together, create a touching and singular story of childhood and parenthood, and of transformation through loss.
Cover design: Beth Ford
Publication date: September 15, 2017
Jon Boisvert was born in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, and now lives in Oregon. He studied poetry at Oregon State University and the Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland. You can sometimes see new writing and art at www.jonboisvert.com. BORN is his first book.
Praise for BORN
I am a huge fan of Jon Boisvert's poetry. Above all, it is honest. I cannot think of a more honest surrealist and this is my highest compliment. I feel better and worse after having read Jon's work. Better because I know more inexhaustibly how awful the world is and worse for how much I, like the poet, am driven to live anyway.—Emily Kendal Frey
The poems in Born are steeped in silence. And out of that silence, the world is assembled, again and again, each time an attempt to make meaning of life, its sorrows, love, and loss. Boisvert wields his boundless imagination deftly, honestly, aware that no matter how spellbinding and dream-like his poems are, their ultimate task is to make one feel more human. In that, he succeeds, wildly. These poems are lanterns to carry through our darkest inner landscapes.
“Like a Mobius band, Born is a fluid continuum, an extended poem in which the speaker circles back to his childhood loss of his father, then toward, into, and through the loss of his own newborn son. Surreal, verbally exact, and charged with both visceral power and tenderness, the poems capture the essence of loss through emblems that recall us to our own childhood dreams: a lake of fawns, a crow costumed as a doctor, a unique constellation formed of a father, a doctor, and a death cradle. As we enter each poem’s vivid room, we feel these images moving into us. And when the speaker says “My heart is still trying to be with him,” the reader shares not only in his lament for his son, but also in his wonder at how love grips and transforms us, how it models and molds our world. These are unforgettable, haunting poems—and they enlarge our faith in the heart’s strength and resiliency.”
— Karen Holmberg
KBOO's The Talking Earth with Jon Boisvert and Kelly Terwilliger (radio reading/interview)
Rob McLennan's Blog (review)
Excerpts from BORN
In celebration of the publication of BORN, Airlie Press has commissioned a limited-edition postcard of one of Jon Boisvert’s poems.