Literature & literary studies:

Bird Years


Paperback / softback

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Bird Years by Dicko King
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Poetry. This is a book of false memories and myth--and recollection and revelation excavated out of the author's unconscious, the pieces laid out and puzzled over. This is the moment's archeologist hovering over the lost past. One enters as if falling into a painting--a near desolate landscape ..".of harsh reds...where lizards go to die," a primal world of early-risen angst and longing, disappointment and disconnectedness begun when a child is left at a kindergarten door by his mother. This book sifts through the shards of a childhood--the remnants carried forward into adulthood as tokens of the past yet they are a heavy weight, poorly distributed, and shouldered such that one is hunched low as we meet ourselves on the road. What is it of the frightened boy stays with us, running parallel to the running man? This is a grand meander through the daunting piecework of making a life. BIRD YEARS is holographic, its facets cut like diamond--mirroring at one moment, disappearing into another the stifled emotions of a child growing old, his world being lost to inattention and fading memory. Or is this a portal into the world which is but ..".a bump-out in the universe...a world which mother swears is safe." A language is spoken here which is the natural patois of a lost child--the aging forever-child who longs for a connection that never is, yet is ideally imagined as if our a life lived must be more than the long soft pain of a father missing at crucial times--or is simply a story of the missing child in the childhood missed, the bits and memories of childhood lyrically meandering through a recollection and a fresh mythology meant to ease the solitary and bewildering puzzle of the human condition. "BIRD YEARS resumes Dicko King's examination of time that he began in DOGGERLAND, but now the poet assumes the cowl of the contemplative. The poems are elegiac but not mournful or melancholic, attesting to King's skills as a poet who exposes the complicated myths, confusions, grievances, and shortcomings within family history that prevent us from finding peace and developing compassion. This book is a fearless meditation, urgent gospel, brilliant memento mori, encouraging us to 'Listen up...'"--Chris Burawa "This is a visceral book, informed by both heart and body. The meddling, doubting mind isn't given much space here. Instead, King has the courage to delve into the welter of family history--its ties, pulls, breaks and confusions--without trying to resolve it. Grandfather, father, sons--generations work and struggle for love, the dead as involved as the living. These are fierce people: In the poem Our Ma King writes: 'There is a eulogy which claims she slew / the enemies of her sons before / we were born.' King rekindles these stories, and his own, with both boldness and subtlety. And praise. When a mouth opens, it opens in prayer. The spiritual elements in the book are quiet. That's how we know they are true."--Tam Lin Neville

Author Biography

Dicko King is the author of BIRD YEARS (Mayapple Press, 2017) and DOGGERLAND: ANCESTRAL POEMS (Grid Books, 2015). He was born in the old Carney Hospital in South Boston, and was raised in St. Margaret's parish in Dorchester. He lives in Phoenix with his wife, Treva and the ghosts of the past.
Release date NZ
May 1st, 2017
Mayapple Press
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