ATHENS, Ga. – Brian Henry, associate professor of English and director of Creative Writing at the University of Georgia, will publish Graft, a new book of poetry, this month. Being published in the United States by New Issues Press and in England by Arc Publications, Graft is Henry’s third book, and his second book to appear in the past year.
Poems from Graft originally appeared in more than 30 magazines in the United States, England, Ireland, France, Germany and Australia, including The New Republic, The Paris Review, Grand Street and The Kenyon Review. Several poems from the book received the 2001 George Bogin Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. Citing Henry’s poems for the award, noted poet Donald Revell wrote, “I honor and admire theses poems for their groundwork understanding … With signal integrity, [Henry] exploits no popular catastrophe but chooses, instead, to enter the mythic heart of catastrophe, there to make new myths.”
The poems in Graft explore the contours of both landscape and desire, often approaching the human body as a landscape. Extremities of climate – New Hampshire winters and Australian summers – establish the emotional tenor of many of the poems in the book. The poet Reginald Shepherd has described Graft as a “ruthlessly intelligent book” in which “the terrain shifts and blurs the way that the syntax shifts and wavers.” The book’s other themes include solitude, voyeurism, love and sexual politics, and the poems approach those themes from multiple angles. For example, in the series of four poems called “Reclined Nude,” the woman depicted in the painting speaks directly to those whose gaze is directed at her, thus reversing the relationship between the art object and the viewer.
Brian Henry is also the author of Astronaut and American Incident and editor of the international poetry journal Verse.