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Today's poem is "Music & Story"
from Poems for an Empty Church

Palettes & Quills

Tom Holmes is the editor of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics. He is also author of The Oldest Stone in the World (Amsterdam Press, 2011), Henri, Sophie, & the Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex (BlazeVOX Books, 2009), Pre-Dew Poems (FootHills Publishing, 2008), Negative Time (Pudding House, 2007), After Malaguena (FootHills Publishing, 2005), and Poetry Assignments: The Book (Sage Hill Press, forthcoming). He has thrice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared on Verse Daily and has also appeared in Blue Earth Review, Chiron Review, Crab Creek Review, The Delmarva Review, The G. W. Review, Mississippi Review, Mid-American Review, New Delta Review, New Zoo Poetry Review, Orange Coast Review, Rockhurst Review, San Pedro River Review, Santa Clara Review, South Carolina Review, Sugar House Review, Swarthmore Review, and many other journals that don't have "Review" in their name.

Other poems by Tom Holmes in Verse Daily:
February 12, 2011:   "March 22, 2000, at This Stone" "This man who mumbles..."
September 13, 2009:   "While Refuged at Sophie's Cottage as Bombs Fall on London, Nina Hamnett Pens a Postcard to Wyndham Lewis" "Sophie collects new moons..."
April 12, 2009:   "A Corpse of Vortices" "After they kill me..."
August 16, 2008:   "For Her Waking" "Down the canal they arrive..."

Books by Tom Holmes:

Other poems on the web by Tom Holmes:
"As with Energy, So with Form Ė Henri Thinks Through His Sculpture"
"My Mouth (An Apology)"
"The Man Who Counted Away"
"Squeezing away the Past"

Tom Holmes's Blog.

Tom Holmes on Twitter.

About Poems for an Empty Church:

"Of course, no church is ever really empty unless people let ritual and myth lapse into repetition and dogma. Even then it isnít empty, just empty of awe. Thatís when origin stories are most necessary, and thatís what Tom Holmes provides in abundance: Moons create amazement, then stones create reflection, then people come along creating words, aggression, fire, flutes, art, physics, and probably our destruction, everything progressing ítil it returns full circle. Along the way, 'statues pry themselves from sides of buildings / and exit the city / clutching their plaques.' Along the way, a lot of fine poems unfold, one containing a curse: 'you have succeeded / in being only what you thought / you should be.' Itís a curse because we ought to be more. In a century in need of a giant do-over, Poems for an Empty Church reminds us of that. Even better, it makes a good lever or spark."
—Rob Carney

"Poems for an Empty Church, Tom Holmes writes of birth and death and the life we live in between those two events in beautifully sculpted lines carved into the white space that surrounds them. 'I dare say I can hear / muddy angels singing /the lines of God,' he writes in 'The Calculus of a Tod Marshall Book of Poems.' There are plenty of angels in Tom Holmesí poems too, but one must be still enough to hear and appreciate the whisk of wings hovering over these powerful meditations."
—Sarah Freligh

"I think of Charles Olsen when I read Tom Holmesí poems: open, investigative, prophetic, often with mystical implications. These are the elements of our best modernist poems, and Holmes is a modernist Ė or a pre-modernist, or a post-pre-modernist. And there lies the real interesting part of his poems, they are hard to fit into anyone anywhere. He sits us in an empty church and says listen. He knows 'it was the moons talked first.' He knows the dreams we dream even when 'we wheeze / asleep in our boxes of shadows.' In these poems and parables is our collective of fire and nightfall, origins and endings, monochromatics, rivers, and stretch marks. Sappho makes a rare presence, but this is a book more stone-carved than page-written and she too is an ancient muse. As this authorís I is an absent eye, scanning the world of caves and shadows to find clouds who feed themselves, ghosts like alphabets, and men who whittle bones into flutes."
—Sean Thomas Dougherty



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