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Crossing State Lines, Poems by Joseph Chelius
In Crossing State Lines, Joseph Chelius explores the themes of travel, moving from boyhood to fatherhood while stopping along the way to examine the illuminating moments of daily life that keep us connected to our loved ones―at every stage of life.
"Keats cautioned his fellow poet Shelley to load every rift of your subject with ore, and Joseph Chelius's new book does just that. Crossing State Lines invites into its pages street preachers on lunch break, delivery men and their truncated courtesies at reception desks, hemorrhaging parishioners, Nar-Anon families, laid-off workers, kids named Snake and Chimpo and Quinny and Nunce hanging out in a friend's garage, and Big Leaguer Rich Hebner who dug graves in the off-season. At no time more than now do we need a book that opens its heart to the world. Chelius's generosity extends to a lawn jockey with a missing arm, a white Rambler on its last ride, a moth on a windshield, Bell Telephone work gloves, a platoon of string beans, a Frank's Black Cherry sipped in a laundromat, the wistful campfire of a turntable. I learn so much when I read Chelius. No matter who we are, we can always have more training in openness and attention to the resonant particulars of this world. These bravely crafted, quietly compelling, and steadfastly generous poems are a training ground for the heart and the mind. We are better for reading Crossing State Lines―but it's not just good for us, it's pure pleasure, every page welcoming us and sending us onto the next discovery and the next delight."―Christopher Bursk, author of The Improbable Swervings of Atoms
"In Crossing State Lines, Joseph Chelius gives us the gift of poems alive with the details of neighborhood and family life. The poet muses about the lives of high school classmates as the radio plays rock music hits from the '70s. He speaks of the sorrow of driving a beloved car to a junk lot. He honors the labor of janitors, stock boys, delivery drivers, and husbands doing housework. Gentleness and kindness enrobe these lyrics even when, or especially when, they speak of a son's recovery from addiction and a family's stalwart support. Read these poems. They are a balm to the spirit. They remind us to treasure the dailiness of life."―Lynn Levin, author of Miss Plastique
"Under the accurate, inviting, and seemingly casual descriptions of ordinary life, these poems simmer with the hard-won wisdom and deep insight of a solitary and language-driven mind. Chelius leads us through his work-a-day world with unpretentious candor and illuminates our own shadowy memories―reshaped and redeemed―through the clarity of his poetic vision."―David Livewell, author of Shackamaxon