WIRES OVER THE HOMEPLACE
by Paul Dickey
Wires Over the Homeplace is a late eighteenth-century Pennsylvania frontier of ancestors
clearing fields across America to raise young families and new generations. It’s
also a coming-of-age story for a postmodernist computer programmer retiree in the
early twenty-first century writing his second book of poetry. Somewhere it may contain
a story snatched from your own heart.
Wires happens in places that once were prairies, wheat fields, ball fields, hospital
waiting rooms, and schools—and occupied by jack rabbits, snakes, and rusted tractors
in the fields. The only constant may be the dark birds perched on the wires. The
cinematography is Dickeyville, Wisconsin; Iowa; Wichita; Oklahoma; and Omaha.
At this very minute, or perhaps the moment you start to read, the book means what
it says, which is a Great Plains value. In the book though, much will happen and
meaning can’t always be rigidly predicted and controlled. You’ll drive the I-80 Interstate
through Iowa and buy nails or a bucket of paint in an old hardware store in Weeping
Water, Nebraska. A lovely young lady will buy a loaf of bread. You might get hungry
for your own grandma’s homemade sausage biscuits and gravy. You’ll discuss ovenbirds
with Bertrand Russell.
At times the road may make a sudden jump and you won’t be prepared. That’s just life,
the old-timers say. You do have your seat belt on, right? It’s the law these days.
If the book gets heavy from holding it at an awkward angle, lay it down for a spell.
Bottom line, if we get lucky, you might look up and see these Wires Over the Homeplace,
perhaps as you yourself always knew them, but hadn’t thought about for a time or
hadn’t even known you knew.
PRAISE FOR WIRES OVER THE HOMEPLACE
“Wires Over the Homeplace welcomes the haunting of its forebears, both poetic and
personal. Indeed, as Dickey attends to the narratives, gestures, and cadences of
the Midwest, those sources are brilliantly conflated. So it is that one speaker praises
his father by noticing that the man ‘had his own way about words, folks / and things.
He respected every tool. Everything / inhabited its own place.’ The same could be
said of this poet whose candor so honors his subjects. Dickey’s way about words—subtle,
reserved, but unabashedly tender—is purely his own.”—GEORGE DAVID CLARK, Editor of
April 7, 2015, Master Artist Award:
Eight Nebraska writers were honored this year as recipients of the Nebraska Art Council’s 2015 Individual Artist Fellowship (IAF) award in Literature. The IAF program recognizes exemplary work by Nebraska artists on a three-year rotation between artistic disciplines: Literature, Performing Arts/Filmmaking and Visual Arts. Poet and professor, Paul Dickey, won the highest honor.