Reckless Constellations, by Grant Clauser

Reckless Constellations

Reckless Constellations


Poetry by
Grant Clauser.
Winner of the 2016 Cider Press Review Book Award.

ISBN: 978-1-930781-51-1
Binding: Tradepaper
Pub date: January 1, 2018


Poetry by Grant Clauser.
Winner of the 2016 Cider Press Review Book Award.

Release date January 1, 2018

Advance praise for Reckless Constellations:

“In Reckless Constellations by Grant Clauser we’re shown a memorious cast of characters in the precincts of a Dod-raucous River Road. He shouts hello to ‘something we missed / the first time out’ and to his America with its tool kit of cruelties. Whether trying on the cast-off clothing of the dead at a Goodwill or exploring ‘the dark / beyond the flashlight’s / D-cell glow.’ Clauser is about the people and geographies of the forever-moment. Reckless Constellations is scripted of the hope required just to live. And if hope begins and ends with a vision we trust, Grant Clauser provides that. He’s a dirt-bike rider whose story of love and friendship and connectedness unfolds under a night sky of ‘stars too small / to be named’ and in full-daylight country in which ‘The sun behind the trees is broken.’ The guy is the Real Thing.”

—Roy Bentley (Starlight Taxi, winner of the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize for 2012)

“The poems in Grant Clauser’s Reckless Constellations break and enter a past peopled by a cast of restless adolescents who fight, fuck, set fires and chug bottles of rotgut wine in their race away from innocence. But, as he writes in ‘Going Back,’ ‘It’s not the memory you find . . . but the loss of this.’ Yet from the wreckage of the past and its many losses, he excavates meaning and ultimately the sort of enlightenment that comes to those who understand the ‘farthest stars / can only be seen / on the darkest nights.’ Fasten your seatbelt, people: This is one wild, beautiful ride of a book.”

—Sarah Freligh, author of Sad Math

Enjoy the book’s title poem:

Reckless Constellations

After leaving Old Pat behind
the liquor store, we crossed
the state line back to River Road,
stopped at Devil’s Half Acre
where the girls waited with a bonfire
casting a honey glow into trees.

And there around the fire pit
Dod spilled his whiskey lies.
Jim tossed firecrackers in the flames
like mercenaries for spite
and made Shelly jump
back more than once.

When we turned away
from the heat our breath froze
in front of our faces
the way evening stands still
on some nights, especially
for the young.

Someone danced
until the batteries died
and then all the beer bottles
Old Pat got us lay in reckless
constellations in the woods.
Sparks from the fire rose
with smoke—stars too small
to be named.

About the Author

Grant Clauser is a technology journalist, editor, sometimes teacher and dust collector. His previous poetry books include The Trouble with Rivers, Necessary Myths, and The Magician’s Handbook. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Cortland Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Journal, Tar River Poetry and others. He can be found on Twitter at @uniambic


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