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ONLY THE ONE SKY

Poems by Dabney Stuart

Dabney Stuart’s 20th book of poetry guides us to a timeless imaginative world created through dialogs between the poet (Stuart) and an old poet, which heighten our awareness of the arts of contemplation, conversation, and friendship. We see the old poet as he muses in forests, along the river, or as a poet come through time, perhaps from the Tang Dynasty of eighth-century China, where friendship was a key of poetry. In “Just the Poems,” Stuart begins:

It was spring again, as usual, though early.

The old poet and I walked the trail.

echoing Wang Wei (699-759) who wrote in a letter to his friend, P’ei Ti, “I think much of old days: how hand in hand, composing poems as we went, we walked down twisting paths to the banks of clear streams.”

These conversations are gentle, profound meditations on family, memory, and awe, set in an ideal nature:

The old poet watched sun fleck the hemlock’s needles,

his morning vision, time out of mind.

 

echoing Li Po (701-762): “My friend is lodging high in the Eastern Range, / … / At green spring he lies in the empty woods.”

Yet all is not gentle in our land; in “Sower,”

A gunman stands on the Lincoln Memorial steps,

surveying the American Domain.

In “Skipper’s Run,”

When we go back, we will find the jangle

of the world waiting to snare us again.

Still, Stuart balances serious concerns with knowing, wit, and humor. In an untitled poem,

Time will tell, but time is speechless.

And in “High and Low,”

I have looked high and low for nothing at all.

These poems take us somewhere new, and we know when we’ve been there that we’ve spent our time wisely, as in “Breath-Borne,”

When we look up, surprised by how far we’ve come,

there’s still only the one sky, but it’s everywhere.”

DABNEY STUARTS recent volumes of poetry include Time’s Body, Greenbrier Forest, Open the Gates, and Tables. A former resident at the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio, Italy, he has also held a Virginia Artists Fellowship, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He won the Library of Virginia Poetry Prize for 2006. His work is in the audio and video archives at the Library of Congress.

PRAISE FOR ONLY THE ONE SKY

“Dabney Stuart’s Only The One Sky offers the wisdom and images of a lifetime’s observation: the convergence of physical with metaphorical, nature’s forms with memory, words with breath. He presents the world’s ceaseless flux meditatively, without judgment, in startling and lovely equivalences. Tracing time in wind, wingbeat, traveling cloud; longing in shadow and a bird’s cry. Stuart is the master poet of the invisible.”—Lisa Sandlin, author of You Who Make the Sky Bend

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Pinyon Titles

Open the Gates

Open the Gates, Poems for Young Readers (2010): (8"x10" paperback, full color, 92 pages, ISBN: 978-0-9821561-6-2, $27.00).

Tables

Tables (2009) From nuclear physics to astronomy, Stuart explores themes of family, friction, and art (6"x9" paperback, 100 pages, ISBN: 978-0-9821561-1-7, $15.00, New Mexico Book Award Finalist).

ALSO BY DABNEY STUART:

Greenbrier Forest (2012) Meditations deriving from the sights and sounds of Greenbrier Forest in West Virginia (6"x9" paperback, 80 pages, ISBN: 978-1-936671-03-8, $15.00).

Greenbrier Forest
Time's Body

Times Body (2014) New and Selected Poems (1994-2014), (6"x9" paperback, 174 pages, ISBN: 978-1-936671-22-9, $18.00).

April 14, 2016, A Word’s Worth Review:
“... a kind of counterpoint and harmony that flows between two poets to create a spiritual synthesis, embracing past and present in a medley of poems” Read the Review
Pinyon Publishing

Page last updated: June 6, 2016

All pages copyright © 2016 by Pinyon Publishing