David Baker, acclaimed for his combination of “visionary scope” (Gettysburg Review) and “emotional intensity” (Georgia Review), is one of contemporary poetry’s most gifted lyric poets. In Swift, he gathers poems from eight collections, including his masterful latest, Scavenger Loop (2015); the prize-winning, intimate travelogues of Never-Ending Birds (2009); and the complications of history and home in Changeable Thunder (2001). Opening the volume are fifteen new poems that continue Baker’s growth in form and voice as he investigates the death of parents, the loss of homeland, and a widening natural history, not only of his beloved Midwest but of the tropical flora and fauna of a Caribbean island.
Together, these poems showcase the evolution of Baker’s distinct eco-poetic conscience, his mastery of forms both erotic and elegiac, and his keen eye for the shifting landscapes of passion, heartbreak, and renewal. With equal curiosity and candor, Baker explores the many worlds we all inhabit―from our most intimate relationships to the wider social worlds of neighborhoods, villages, and our complex national identity, to the environmental community we all share.
With his dazzling formal restlessness and lifelong devotion to landscapes both natural and human on full display, David Baker demonstrates why he has been called “the most expansive and moving poet to come out of the American Midwest since James Wright” (Marilyn Hacker).