2011 Title » Poetry
Scorpio Rising: Selected Poems
Culled from six previous collections, Scorpio Rising: Selected Poems, is the culmination of a thirty-five-year career. Katrovas's early poems reflect a harrowing childhood on the highways of America as his parents fled the FBI. They also probe the gas-lit backstreets of New Orleans's French Quarter where "the protean human heart/is nature's crime against us." Witness to Prague's Velvet Revolution while on a Fulbright Fellowship, Katrovas in his later poems meditates upon his own American identity as he raises bi-cultural, bilingual daughters. Katrovas's formal verse has an edge we do not usually associate with traditionally formal poetry. Understanding that all gendered identity is a construction, Katrovas explores, as few lyric poets have, the linguistic and emotional contours of "masculinity."
The author of twelve books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, Richard Katrovas taught for twenty years at the University of New Orleans, and since 2002 at Western Michigan University. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, Katrovas is the founding director of the Prague Summer Program. Married to the yogini Krista Katrovas, he is the proud father of Czech-American daughters, Ema, Anna, and Ella.
For more than twenty-five years Richard Katrovas has written some of the most powerful and compelling poetry in America. . . . Whether reflecting upon his own checkered childhood, the political weathers of Prague, or the delicate nature of his daughters, Richard Katrovas carries us into landscapes of wisdom and beauty, and I promise that his poems will move you like few others.
—David St. John
"I regard a world/That is beautiful/And rank, and couch what/I see in language/That is palpable/And rude," writes Katrovas in "The Book of Complaints," making an assertion characteristic in both its candor and modesty. I know of no other poet who has so scrupulously turned life into art without killing it; turned street-smart into book-smart without dulling it; turned the masculine passions of a son, a father, a husband, and a lover into exquisitely shaped lyric form without losing the ability to roar. Richard Katrovas is a powerful, thoughtful, and inventively romantic poet who never loses sight of the fact that we are alive inside the complexities of our historical moments; that we are members of a terrible and beautiful tribe. This book demonstrates beyond a doubt that he is one of the most accomplished and significant poets of our time.
For the past thirty years, Richard Katrovas has been one of our most passionate, humane, and accomplished poets. He has meditated on tenderness and violence and knows the friction and resentments of class difference and the frustrations of the disenfranchised. Witness to major political events like Czechoslovakia's "Velvet Revolution," he also knows the dignity of the private individual struggling to assert his or her value. This selection of Richard Katrovas's poems, evidence of a unique voice, is a gift to American poetry.
To purchase Scorpio Rising: Selected Poems by Richard Katrovas, please contact our distributor, University Press of New England toll free at 1-800-421-1561 or by fax at 1-603-448-9729. The book is also available online at UPNE, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine retailers.
To request a copy for review, please contact the Carnegie Mellon University Press Editorial Offices at (412) 268-2861 or by email at CarnegieMellonUniversityPress@gmail.com.