Poetry

Moving the Bones

Poems
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A vulnerable and honest collection of poems exploring lineage, love, and the pandemic, from one of the most acclaimed poets of his generation.
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A vulnerable and honest collection of poems exploring lineage, love, and the pandemic, from one of the most acclaimed poets of his generation.

“You are told to believe in one paradise / and then there is the paradise you come to know,” begins Rick Barot. What follows is an account of the rich and thorny valley between those poles. Moving the Bones dwells in liminal spaces—of love and memory, the pandemic’s singular domesticity, a serene cemetery of ancestral plots, dawn. In precise and tender verse, Barot captures the particularities of being in the middle of one’s life, reflecting on the joys and sorrows of the past and confronting the inevitabilities that lie ahead.

For Barot, this presence of mind is an art of being lost in thought. “My mind has a slow metabolism, it is slow / to understand what anything means,” he confides, “but understands that if you look at something / long enough, it will have something / to say to you.” Appreciating a Rembrandt, standing in a Goodwill, watching a boy with a flower behind his ear—we encounter ephemeral murmurs of meaning everywhere, but only by slowing down, listening. If we take time to notice the enduring insights of daily moments, if we praise cherry blossoms, lungs, and crying, we might find it easier to bear the loss of a loved one, the sting of solitude, the body’s decline.

By laying bare his own experiences, Barot brings us close enough to witness the lyrical work of consciousness. Patient and attentive, this collection illuminates the everyday and invites us to find pleasure in doing the same, at every stage of life.

Keywords
poetry, pandemic, COVID-19, lineage, family, love, memory, painting, art, LGBTQ+, queer love
ISBN
9781571315649
Publish Date
Pages
88
Dimensions
8.5 × 6 × 0.25 in
Weight
7 oz
Author

Rick Barot

Rick Barot is the author of Moving the Bones. He was born in the Philippines, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and attended Wesleyan University and The Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa.His fourth book of poems The Galleons was published by Milkweed Editions in 2020. It was listed on the top ten poetry books for 2020 by the New York Public Library, was a finalist for the Pacific Northwest Book Awards, and was on the longlist for the National Book Award. He teaches at Pacific Lutheran University and lives in Tacoma, Washington.