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Some Odd Afternoon by Sally Ashton

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Some Odd Afternoon Sally Ashton BlazeVOX [books]

 “This is about what turns up,” writes Sally Ashton in Some Odd Afternoon . What turns up may be the “dangedy-dang twang” of a banjo, a laptop hiding under a hoop skirt, or a living room that becomes a forest of grandfathers, one “a log, another stone, one a river.” To step into the opening line of one of her poems is to venture out into a future as uncertain and marvelous as the one unfolding before the youngest son in a fairy tale.  We understand how wide the world is when Attention, freed from its daily constraints, becomes a wanderer.  


—Nils Peterson, Poet Laureate Santa Clara County; author of Comedy of Desire, Here is no Ordinary Rejoicing, Driving a Herd of Moose to Durango, and For This Day

 

The title of Sally Ashton’s sharp, frank, mainly prose poetry collection says it all—even in a flat-light, midday existence at the computer there is no avoiding the strange, the uncanny, the wondrous in our everyday lives.  And why should we?  Just like her wry exploration of identity in the section “Googling Sally Ashton,” in which she uncovers all sorts of namesakes from a 19th Century American slave to a surfing controller, the beauty of life is its unpredictability, how we are never the same person, not even from moment to moment within ourselves.  She moves smoothly through various voices and situations with carefully crafted, thoughtful poems that never sacrifice sound for content, no matter how humorous or bittersweet their narratives may be. These poems ask us to rejoice in words and language, and to both question and take advantage of the very information age we are now unavoidably a part of; not oddity for oddity’s sake, instead, like that most famous of hermits Emily Dickinson, who, in the title poem, travels to Italy solely from the confines of her writing room, they demand that we ponder reality but, ultimately, give in to imagination and enjoy the ride. Some Odd Afternoon is wise without being old-fashioned, hip and aware without being cold and callous. Whether dragging us back in time to a Civil War battlefield or an alternate past when men were bears, from West Coast to East Coast and around the globe, or straight into the heart of cyberspace, Ashton’s poems remind us of the glorious freedom of identity, place and time that only language can offer. 

—Mary Donnelly, Senior Poetry Editor, failbetter

 

In Sally Ashton’s Some Odd Afternoon, time, itself, becomes a place of attention and strangeness, where the hours tilt through planes of real and unreal.  She moves with authority and ease in densely imaginative poems that are dreamlike and elliptical, then swings us back to the intimacy of narrative with a crisp lucidity.  In the prose series, “In which I google sally ashton,” she addresses her “manyselves” and the boundaries of identity with a luminous curiosity that reminds us at the heart of tenderness is levity.  An underlying clarity sharpens the senses in poems risky enough to guide us straight into awe, where “a herd of horses appears to streak across morning.”  Ashton asks, “What are  the signs/of wonder?” and the answer is embodied in this captivating book.

Jennifer K. Sweeney, author of "How to Live on Bread and Music," winner of the James
      Laughlin Award.

 

____________
Sally Ashton, is a poet, writer and editor of the DMQ Review, an online journal featuring poetry and art. She is author of These Metallic Days, and the prose poem collection, Her Name Is Juanita. Poems also appear in An Introduction to the Prose Poem and Breathe: 101 Contemporary Odes as well as journals such as Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics5am, Mississippi Review and Poet Lore.  She is the recipient of an Artist Fellowship, Poetry, from Arts Council Silicon Valley and has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize. Ashton earned her MFA at Bennington Writing Seminars. Besides workshops, she teaches creative writing at San José State University and lives in Los Gatos, California. She blogs at www.poetryonastick.blogspot.com


Book Information:

· Paperback: 100 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books]
· ISBN: 9781935402817

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