Body of Water: A Sage, a Seeker, and the World's Most Alluring Fish
A brilliant book. Destined to be a classic.
Chris Dombrowski was playing a numbers game: two passions—poetry and fly-fishing; two children, one of them in utero; and an income hovering perilously close to zero. Enter, at this particularly challenging moment, a miraculous email: can’t go, it’s all paid for, just book a flight to Miami.
Thus began a journey that would lead to the Bahamas and to David Pinder, a legendary bonefishing guide. Bonefish are prized for their elusiveness and their tenacity. And no one was better at hunting them than Pinder, a Bahamian whose accuracy and patience were virtuosic. He knows what the fish think, said one fisherman, before they think it.
By the time Dombrowski meets Pinder, however, he has been abandoned by the industry he helped build. With cataracts from a lifetime of staring at the water and a tiny severance package after forty years of service, he watches as the world of his beloved bonefish is degraded by tourists he himself did so much to attract. But as Pinder’s stories unfold, Dombrowski discovers a profound integrity and wisdom in the guide’s life.
Lauded in Orion as "a holy book," Earth Again transports readers to a world where identity is explored and expanded. Mixing long poems and shorter set pieces, Dombrowski probes birth, death, sex, memory, and our blessed but treacherous engagement with the natural world. While he writes from a number of points of view and employs both male and female speakers, much of the collection’s singular insight centers around masculine identity and being a husband and a father. In note-perfect language, which alternates between the most colloquial and the most elevated of diction, this work displays a vast range of emotions in dexterous rhythms, unexpected shifts, and unforgettable metaphors. As a result readers come away transformed, “like the land / gasping as it does each late winter evening when / the sky at tree line, nearly sapphiric, goes black,” as these poems prove Dombrowski to be a truly original American voice.
By Cold Water
A Poetry Foundation Bestseller in 2009, By Cold Water journeys into a complex natural world that is both beautiful and threatened. All consuming and honed to exact sharpness, these poems engage in an earthy and eloquent exploration of the landscape of Dombrowski’s native Michigan and his current home of Montana. In lines bursting with tactile, aural, and visual images. Dombrowski’s voice is both inviting and sophisticated, its precision reminiscent of the best poets who have drawn inspiration from natural environs. As critic Richard Simpson wrote: "(By Cold Water) suggests that if anything can save the forsaken world, it may be visionary song."
Poems & ESSAYS
photo by Michael Eastman