Dylan Stover has worked variously as a landscaper, a donut-maker, a field botanist, a factory assembler, a museum technician, and as a clerk in a cheese shop. Poetry, he is assured, isn’t a real job, just a way of translating what we hear all around and inside us. He thinks he has some skill in doing this. You can judge for yourself here. He currently resides in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, where he works for money. He doesn’t own any pets.
WHAT'S IN FRONT OF THE SKY asks the question “How can I believe?” and then dares to provide an affirmative answer over the course of 100-plus pages of lyrical poetry. Deeply allusive and often stubbornly obscure, these poems playfully yet rigorously confront questions about American society, gender and identity, love and God in an intensely personal quest towards the paradox of self-discovery. They reflect the author’s interest in our world’s great wisdom traditions, ranging from ancient mythology and forms of animism to Christian theology and medieval mysticism, Eastern spirituality, Jungian psychology, Western philosophy and more. Yet the poems remain above all firmly rooted in present time and space: many of them were conceived directly on a park bench during regular visits to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in northeast Ohio where the author has lived for over 30 years. The poems reflect the unique consciousness of that locality without sinking into insularity: for these are poems that seek out dialogue with all things and reward repeated questioning, reminding us that poetry, if it is to have any justification for us today, must be shared in an attitude of free reciprocity; that we are all listeners first, before we become speakers.
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