Winner of the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award, Bill Rasmovicz’s second full-length book of poems, Gross Ardor, focuses on a faith in the alchemy of the imagination. The book is post-apocalyptic in tone, but its incantatory rhythms and perceptual particularities, as they unfold line by line, create a continuously vibrant sense of the phenomenological, the subconscious as a loosely associative narrative that feels, one might say, breathed into existence. It is a visionary and transformative work in which the musicality of language becomes inseparable from the thinking that creates it, and the reader merges with this ongoing depiction of whatever might be said to constitute the world, a voice so urgent and fluid we become one with the book’s central guiding consciousness. Gross Ardor is a truly mesmerizing performance.
“With a nearly archaeological enthusiasm for the layeredness of language, perception, and memory, Bill Rasmovicz’s Gross Ardorexcavates the groove canals, pulls up the faceplates, lets the depth-charges blossom. These poems have surprise-fight in them. They have guts. They erupt. They go the surgical distance all along the horizon and even out beyond it—’implying you in everything’—making way for a soul, then walking you through it.” — Matt Hart
IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE IN THE SOUL
The little hairs in the lungs rust.
It is hard to imagine wind.
What is emptiness? A flower?
Whosoever’s body is flush with the world is a god.
Where water pools in the shade your reflection trembles.
The woman on the balcony, you imagine her from yesterday.
Vines spill from banister to cement and you swear
the baby’s eyelashes are silk, the river
tons of effluvia at once.
If anything, the soul is a series of invisible arches, mass
without weight, the smallest sense of moon-colored fortitude.
A ladder reaches the roof and keeps going.
The woman, she believes she is bread.
You too believe you are bread, that if anything
the flower is born inside out.
In the mind wild grasses pant and fold.
The broken colloquy of a hammer, thirst of trees
in your blood. The blue thread
you ease from your shirt to stitch air to air.
* from Gross Ardor, 42 Miles Press, 2013, just released.
Critics on Bill Rasmovicz’s first book, published by Alice James Books:
“Bill Rasmovicz gives us the world in fine detail. City life, shoreline, night, loss and its shadow, desire—these come to us through an intelligence fully attuned to metaphor’s striking shifts from sight to insight. This is lyric poetry at its best, fully accomplished, probing, deeply felt, with delicate wit and language—oh the language!—stunning enough to pass Miss Dickinson’s test.”
“The clear intensity of the visionary requires stillness, not high speeds. And there is a restlessness at the heart of such stillness that Bill Rasmovicz’s first book gets at more exquisitely—with a voice that can bear it—than any I’ve read in years. His surreal practices are humanizing faith-keepings with the metamorphic, the elemental, the actual.”