With Mouths Open Wide
Showcasing the fortitude and wisdom, the honey and fire, the jab and embrace of a master poet, With Mouths Open Wide is a landmark collection of more than three decades of writing.
Including work from John Caddy’s previous five books as well as new poems drawn from his experiences recovering from a stroke, the sum total of this expansive career carefully mediates the balance of outside and inside, sequentially rebuilding a delicate web of cognition, identity, and perception. From the revulsion on a child’s face as Caddy’s recovering body struggles to walk, to the gift of a night nurse revealing her tattoo, these poems defy consolation in their consideration of mortality. Caddy engages readers with his acerbic wit, his base profundity, his downright honesty, and a no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners attitude.
With the blinkers off, this poetic vision comprehends a fulsome picture of human, and animal, experience—a flawed and loved slideshow of the world.
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Praise and Prizes
“This collection contains 300 pages from a man who has engaged the world through surprising and celebratory language that also encircles the dark corners of modern experience. In this volume, encounters with the natural world, life at home, and the dangers of ill health weave through consistent and powerful poems. John Caddy’s uncanny ability to focus in multiple dimensions of human thought elicits delighted trust from the reader.”
“In essence, John Caddy transcends the beauties and pains of everyday life into rich experiences of unspoken joy. A must read for poetry lovers everywhere.”
“The very best of a long and storied career . . . With a sharp wit that will entertain readers as well as inspire them as John Caddy tells his tales of overcoming his disabilities. With Mouths Open Wide is a collection of poetry from a master, sure to please those who love poetry.”
“With unflinching grace, John Caddy’s poems offer up a highly realized natural world energized by lavish attentions and an intensely physical music, full of spondaic gravity and grit, full of affection and reverence for the intricacies and enormity of the small. . . . Such is this book’s great gift, its emotional honesty, its archaic resonance, its generosity rendered with a clear eye, a sure hand. A remarkable achievement.”
“I know how difficult it is to commit entirely to landscape and creature. John Caddy’s poems in ‘Wave’ present a total immersion, body and soul, without cell-phone interruptions or reminders of the frantic human world back home. In the ‘Stroke’ section which closes the book . . . by that same love for the light and beauty of the earth the poet recovers enough his ‘eye for every shade of green.’”
“The poems in With Mouths Open Wide compel and startle with their freshness, their lucidity, their lyricism—and with coinages worthy of Hopkins: windcraze, batebreath, springwood, birthbite, hugholds, dapplesun. There are echoes also of Whitman and Mary Oliver, Loren Eiseley and Aldo Leopold and Emily Dickinson. . . . Survivor of a life-threatening stroke, Caddy awakens with his already heightened senses further heightened.”