In Gravity Well, Marc Rahe’s incisive third collection, the poems beckon readers through an ever-shifting series of landscapes, drawing our gaze across a dynamic tableau— an octopus wearing a sweater, a white sky over the bridge we’re standing on, flowers pressed into a forgotten book — as a means of revealing the most particular thrills and anxieties of the human condition.
Unafraid and unwavering, careful and concerned, Gravity Well propels its reader through the imagined apertures of the universe one striking image at a time, leaving us ocularly magnified in a world now seen anew. A singular voice in American poetry, Rahe deftly centers the body in relation to ailments such as love, decay, aging, friendship, and grief. His powerful, meditative plea is resounding: “Earth, turn me.”
Gravity Well will be published by Rescue Press on 20th October 2020
As an English teacher as well as a blogger, I was absolutely delighted to be asked to review Mark Rahe’s eclectic new collection. I love poetry and think that there can be a lot of fear surrounding it and what is the ‘right’ way to read and respond to it…
Poetry has often been described as ‘the best words in the best order’ and this is definitely the best way to respond to it. I like to set aside some time to read poetry before going out for a walk and think about how I’ve responded to the words on the page as I’m outside in nature.
Rahe’s newest collection really makes you think, but it’s nothing to be afraid of and there is definitely much to enjoy whether you are a poetry aficionado or someone who is just curious and interested in opening up their reading horizons a little bit this year.
I think that letting the words hit you as they land and not being too ‘hung up’ on divining the meaning is the answer with these poems – the bold cover with its lunar design invites you in and reminds you that reading poetry can be a doorway into another landscape and terrain totally different from our own – but just like the moon we can discover it for ourselves and inhabit it for a different perspective of the world we dwell in…
In ‘Previous Lives’ and ‘Unwashed’ Rahe takes the domestic and the familiar and turns them on their head, asking us to consider the ways that even the most ordinary moments can stop us in our tracks and lead us to think about much bigger questions than can lurk on the surface of our consciousness.
The idea of the ‘music of the spheres’ and the world turning on its axis as we lead our ordinary, extraordinary lives was really captured for me in the poems ‘Where All Motes Lead’ and ‘Appetite’ and I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of the quotidian aspects of our lives with metaphysical questions about humanity and our place on this tiny planet that we live on
I enjoy reading books that take me off the beaten track and make me think at the same time. Rahe has certainly achieved this in Gravity Well and I’m really grateful to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for offering me the chance to discover this fresh and original poetic voice. If you are looking for something different this autumn, that will maybe chase away your fear of poetry and lead you in a new literary direction, then you can buy yourself a copy here and enjoy discovering his voice as much as I have.
Writer On The Shelf
Marc Rahe is the author of The Smaller Half (Rescue Press, 2010), On Hours (Rescue Press, 2015), and Gravity Well (Rescue Press, 2020).
His poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, jubilat, MAKE Literary Magazine, PEN Poetry Series, Sixth Finch, and other literary journals.
He lives in Iowa City.