Bone Skid, Bone Beauty
Publisher: Saint Julian Press (2021)
Bone Skid, Bone Beauty is a collection of poems deeply absorbed in a language that thinks through the body and the body's memory of place, of love, and of losses sustained over time. These poems suggest that what matters within and beyond the pain of sorrow is the tenacity of thought voiced in words, such that "A mind / just hours ago paddling toward the riverbank path / that leads through pastel fields abundant with a soft / and satisfied wealth, now picks its pace / through a glimmering redness, burnt packages / of ideas that nevertheless court hope / in their rapid demise." These poems seed landscapes from the North Atlantic coastline to the far west deserts of Texas with the cadences and syntax of a poet intent on drawing knowledge from what she sees in order that she might give voice to breath and sing an urgent and radiant love for this world.
"Great pleasure can be found in the cadences and musicality of Creighton's lines, in the perfect fit of idea and image; also, there is great surprise and pain in being taken down into the intimacies of grief. This work is motivated overall by what the unsettling presence of the dead signifies for the living."
"To read Jane Creighton's poems is to be held, gratefully, in what she calls 'the glinty vise of memory.' We slide with her in and out of dreams, walk the ragged edge of old loss and fresh, vivid connection with the natural world and a touching variety of people, some known, some strangers. Bone Skid, Bone Beauty (starting with its magical title) is intense and beautifully wrought, its reach wide and deep. It's only a shame that it's taken so long to be given to us."
"In Bone Skid, Bone Beauty, Jane Creighton gives us the marvels of poetry as it moves between dreams and memories, salt and mist. Reading her renews our claim on the beautiful nature of those elemental tools an artist uses to shape meaning with words. And what meaning she makes: exhilarating and devastating. I am reminded of Virginia Woolf's phrase in the opening lines of Mrs. Dalloway: 'what a lark, what a plunge.' Great pleasure can be found in the cadences and musicality of Creighton's lines, in the perfect fit of idea and image; also, there is great surprise and pain in being taken down into the intimacies of grief. This work is motivated overall by what the unsettling presence of the dead signifies for the living. In this time of plague and incalculable loss, Creighton's poems offer necessary guidance for nurturing the ghosts of 2020 and cultivating the gardens of 2021. So many memorable and quotable lines, I leave you with one, a description of poetry itself: 'The door unlocks itself and opens / Into a field crusted with the spiny tips / of words.'"
"It takes a certain patience, the will to endure, to make language sharp enough to slice through time. Jane Creighton's Bone Skid, Bone Beauty patiently observes a world surrendering the past to an ever-mobile 'now.' There, Lot's Wife and Orpheus serve not as figures of regret but as gatherers of wisdom in crisis, who 'Salt the wet horizon / with thimbles full of stories: / what we did, where we went, / what we want back, even as / the city burns.' Nowhere is this mediation on the persistence of place and the ghosts of memory more powerfully jagged than in the sonnet crown 'Weight and Measure.' There Creighton unveils the past full of 'blurred figures piloting a floating mist,' a past where 'So many stories / flicker at the edge, / softening the quick blow, / the regret.' Bone Skid, Bone Beauty musters the will to see the world as it is without fashionable malaise or facile hope and to reside in a radiant now, where it is 'as if / we had all, always been friends / who loved one another / in the same place, at the same time.' Bone Skid, Bone Beauty lives at that very place and time.