BOOKS >>> A NEW AMERICAN FIELD GUIDE & SONG BOOK
by Ryan Collins
It’s relatively easy in a time such as ours to think only of the darkness that surrounds us, to see ourselves in it and allow it to consume us. That’s why Ryan Collins has written this new American hymnal—a field guide and songbook, a road flare for the heart. These are the brand new songs of ourselves, of how to float away in the wide, bright expanse of each other forever and ever and ever, amen. Carry this book with you, and let it ring in your blood. Walk out into the world and sing these brash reminders—from your toes to your pockets, from your teeth to the future. Say them in a whisper to the littlest among us or scream them in chorus at God.
- Matt Hart
Ryan Collins’ A New American Field Guide & Song Book is a book of prophecy, and what is perhaps most remarkable about this is that it is achieved prophecy—prophecy consciously struggled toward and consciously spoken: “An over-awareness of omens consumes you, / New American, but will not help you up- / Root.” And it arrives at a moment when America finds itself in great need of prophesying, which is to say that it arrives at a moment when America finds itself becoming America again. America itself is a prophecy—it submits unnaturally to any stable routine, however comfortable the routine might seem, and soon erupts, unbalanced, again, as it is erupting now. Collins knows this—“You talk too much when you should sing,” he writes. He is a necessary poet, and this is a necessary book.
- Shane McCrae
Ryan Collins is the author of several chapbooks, most recently Where the Wind Bends Backwards (with Erin M. Bertram, 918studio). His poems have appeared in American Letters & Commentary, PEN Poetry Series, Handsome, DIAGRAM, Another Chicago Magazine, Forklift , Ohio, and many other places. He curates the SPECTRA Poetry Reading Series in Rock Island, IL where he lives. A New American Field Guide & Song Book is his first poetry collection.