Dabney Stuart's new book of poems, Tables, moves from a focus on nuclear physics
to astronomy. Stuart's use of these controls isn't technical, though some of their
terms and concepts are explicit: e.g., "strong forces," "fission," "black holes,"
"dark matter." More pervasive, imbedded in the vision the poems embody, are images
from these two areas. Stuart uses them in a variety of contexts to explore dimensions
of everyday human experience.
In "Yucca Mountain," for instance, the place planned for the burial of nuclear waste
becomes a focus for the yucca plant itself, the dances Native Americans once performed
on the little mountain, and the speaker's memories of his father.
Family is one of the recurrent contexts for the understanding particle physics shadows.
"Vowel Sounds" begins with the problem of naming newly discovered forces, and moves
toward a conclusion in which discrete particles and the friction among them become
an image of how families work.
Artists and other non-scientific characters─Cézanne, Miro, Ezekiel, Sidney, Klee─counterpoint
these ruminations. Stuart's unpredictable humor colors these poems, as does his love
of life and the complex ways we speak of it.
DABNEY STUARThas published fourteen previous volumes of poetry, most recently Long
Gone, Settlers, The Man Who Loves Cézanne, and Family Preserve. 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.
Dabney Stuart and his wife Sandra live in Lexington, Virginia.
The New Mexico Book Awards honor great books from New Mexico and the Southwest. Tables
explores New Mexico’s cultural, political, and natural history. Judged by a distinguished
panel of scholars and librarians, Tables was named as a finalist for the best New
Mexico poetry book.
Only the One Sky (2016) A timeless world, dialogs with an old poet, whom we see as
he muses in forests, along the river, or come through time (6"x9" paperback, 112
pages, ISBN: 978-1-936671-36-6, $16.00).
Times Body (2014) New and Selected Poems (1994-2014), (6"x9" paperback, 174 pages,
ISBN: 978-1-936671-22-9, $18.00).
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).
Open the Gates, Poems for Young Readers (2010): (8"x10" paperback, full color, 92
pages, ISBN: 978-0-9821561-6-2, $27.00).