This book will soon be available through our distributors SPD (in the States) and West House Books (in the UK) as well as on our own newly remodeled website (forthcoming).
Advance praise for Pushing Water:
This long serial poem weaves, dodges, shifts, dissolves, coalesces. Improvisation is the foundation for a practice of listening: directed meditation, evanescent rumination, sparkling allusion. “A life in words” through rhythms made new in the wandering flow of thought’s melodies.
— Charles Bernstein
“through the tunnel pushing water” : the first appearance of this image in Charles Alexander’s serial poem arises as if in a dream, and that sense of dream persists throughout this long and complex work (“the dream pushes up from under the water”). Yet, “pushing water” also becomes a metaphor of body, of breath, of heartbeat, blood and brain, of consciousness itself, time and history, rendered in diverse poetic forms. Alexander embraces language and the bodies of work that comprise the touchstones of English poetry from the “word hoard” of the Anglo-Saxons through Shakespeare and Greville, Dickinson, and Williams, Olson and Creeley. But overall, this is a love poem to and for the poet’s wife, the painter Cynthia Miller, and the poem is imbued with the color and forms of her work. The domestic scene is the setting, the love of family is one of the motives for the writing (their two daughters are often invoked) and there is a sense of shelter from the wider world. Without having done an actual word count, “love” and “syllable” (the beat or rhythm of the word) seem to me to be the most frequently used in this poem of love, language, and love of language.
— Beverly Dahlen
What’s the shape of a life, one among many, what’s the rhythm? What’s pushing water? If air were water (and it is) you’d feel the graceful displacements that make up a life here ripple out, and you’d register the rhythms of other lives as undulations coming back in, the day’s news. From right here all the way to water’s cosmic rim and back: the local the (only) universal, as in Williams’s grand and expansive pragmatism. Or Dickinson: “And he unrolled his feathers / And rowed him softer home— // Than Oars divide the Ocean, / Too silver for a seam— / Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon / Leap, plashless as they swim.” That’s a fact—here made plain as any day, or daybook.
— Tenney Nathanson