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Page last updated: June 24, 2014

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PRODIGAL

Poems by Francine Marie Tolf

“We have lost our ability to name,” Francine Marie Tolf writes:

“We say antelope, owl,

as if these words had power.

As if the names of animals hadn’t long fled

back into animals.”

Thus, Tolf lays out the major themes of her second collection of poems, Prodigal: nature, animals, and languageplus a fourth: discoveries that occur when one of these intricate living strands intersects with another.

Tolf doesn’t shy from the savagery humans inflict on the earth and other animals, but instead encourages us to reflect and understand if we can. “In This Rain” and “A Good Thing” are brief but chilling examples. Yet this collection of finely tuned poems balances sorrow and outrage with deep joy and delight. Multilayered and intimate, Prodigal offers hope, derived not from cheaply won sentiment but from an intensely personal conviction welling from an imperfect and compassionate heart:

“At its center,

the circle inverts:

the food chain collapses,

the lion eats straw.

Yet tears are not reversed,

but are wiped away.

So necessary to me, that God

who lets tears fall.

Who touches a quail’s grief

  with his own hand.”

READ AN EXCERPT:

In This Rain.pdf

 

Meeting Sophia.pdf

 

Taking the Master’s Hand.pdf

FRANCINE MARIE TOLF is the author of Rain, Lilies, Luck, her first full-length collection of poetry, and Joliet Girl, a memoir. Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals, including Water-Stone, Rattle, Spoon River, Poetry East, and Southern Humanities Review. She has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board; Barbara Deming Memorial/Money for Women; the Loft Literary Center; and the Elizabeth George Foundation. She holds an MA from Kansas State University and an MFA from the University of Minnesota.
“. . . a poet who possesses that which some literary critics would call “new eyes”—and she uses them to make observations about animals, nature, even antiquity, sometimes poking fun at herself in the manner of Charles Simic . . . particularly in the prose poems that plumb her personal life . . .” Read the Full Review by Diane M. Moore, A Word’s Worth Blog

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Page last updated: June 24, 2014

All pages copyright © 2014 by Pinyon Publishing