EWU Title » Poetry
ISBN: 0-910055-19-X hardcover
ISBN: 0-910055-20-3 paperback
As they provide us with various versions of a history of their place, these poems resound with the rumble of boxcars, the slap of the river currents against the steel hulls of barges, the clatter of cicadas above the whisper of bluestem grass, the quiet voices of grandfather, father and son across the generations, and their dialogues with grandmother, mother, daughter.
Here, from the graves and ashes of the sodbusters, riverboat crews, and railroadmen who populated these vast midland spaces, their themes of angry disillusion, terror in the face of overpowering elemental forces, and ironic resignation to tragic destiny, come to us in language as unmistakable as smoke or dust on the ineluctable prairie wind.
The forms of Thomas Reiter's poems, their rhythms and language, deliver an unerring sense of history's inevitabilities, asking us to witness the bleak lives of the family captured on the photographer's plate in 1874, and the pensioned railroad carpenter's fate, and the peripeteia of the class bully, "first of us to die."
Every version of Thomas Rieter's Midwest history—social, natural, economic, personal—derives its authority from the extraordinary wealth of sharply observed, sensuous, detailed imagery, which alerts even the casual reader to the significance of what these various voices, given a choral unity by the poet's art, are saying to us.
Thomas Reiter is a native of Iowa, where he was educated at Loras College. He attended the University of Virginia on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and received his doctorate from the University of Massachusetts. Since 1968, he has been on the English faculty at Monmouth College in New Jersey, where he has held the Wayne D. McMurray Chair in the Humanities since 1985.
Crossovers is his second book-length collection of poems; River Route appeared from Cedar Creek Press, Oklahoma, in 1977. He has also published four chapbooks, poems from which are included in these pages. He has contributed poems to more than a dozen anthologies, including River Poems, 1992; A Good Man: Fathers and Sons in Poetry and Prose, ed. Irv Broughton, Fawcett, 1993; and Sweet Nothings: Rock and Roll in American Poetry, ed. Jim Elledge, Indiana University Press, 1994. His poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in leading periodicals, and he has presented readings from his work at venues throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean. He is Poetry Editor of the Cimarron Review.
He lives in Neptune, New Jersey, with his wife, Jo Nell, and two children, Peter and Alicia.
. . . an accomplished poet . . . from and about whom we shall hear much more.
—Three Rivers Poetry Journal
. . . a quality of voice, range and depth that makes whole chapters in a life. There is no doubt in reading these poems that Reiter loves craft in its largest sense. The subjects he chooses return again and again to the idea: building bridges and railroads; carpenter, fishermen, painters, handymen; anyone who performs a task with wisdom and grace.
Thomas Reiter writes firm poetry, often with a clarity which is lacking in so much of contemporary poetry. He appears sure with his metaphors and does not labor under the delusion that to write significant poetry one has to be bizarre or unintelligible.
—Scott Davison, Lone Star Book Review
Reiter is someone I would like to call up (along with Holden Caulfield) to see what his next poem will be.
—Frank Allen, Poet Lore
Thomas Reiter's deeply engaging poems are not for players of word games—they are matters of life and death, full of redemptive detail and the music of what's forgotten, good news from a fallen world.
—Peter Makuck, Editor of Tar River Poetry
To purchase Crossovers by Thomas Reiter, 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.