With his remarkable first collection ‘No Elegies,’ Lindsay Wilson is working that old, necessary literary alchemy: in speaking so beautifully, so honestly about the world he inhabits, he inhabits us. “You are,” Wilson writes, “what the paltry thief has left.” Though Wilson is talking to himself—listing his own betrayals, mis-rememberings, and griefs—we can’t help but take stock of our own selves, our own souls. That’s not a word I use lightly. From front to back, ‘No Elegies’ is a soulful book, suffused with death and jazz, sugar and stars, “lupus and low pines, / heat and transience.”
—Joe Wilkins, author of The Mountain and the Fathers and Notes from the Journey Westward
Lindsay Wilson’s ‘No Elegies’ reads like a dreamscape that coaxes the reader further and further into the wild lands of place, love, loss and sorrow. As quintessentially American as this book may be, the overall effect evokes the Japanese concept Wabi Sabi, the poignant loveliness of transient existence. The delicate/powerful presence of these poems perches on absence and the dark matter of one poet’s life, especially his mother’s death. Given that the greatest writing alchemizes vision and beauty out of raw reality, this poetry is pure metaphorical magic. To riff off Lindsay’s poem “No Elegies,” your heart will fly in response and never return tame to its cage.
—Susan Deer Cloud, author of Hunger Moon and Fox Mountain
Linguistically nimble, unfettered by sentimentality or melodrama, Lindsay Wilson’s poems manage to be mournful and ironic at once, completely modern without sacrificing feeling. When writing about death, as he often does in this collection, Wilson lightens his dark materials with a subtle wit and a voice that is, by turns, serious and sly, brooding and skeptical. Witness the scene of the grief-stunned son having a beer with a garden gnome, or leaning down to the carpet to measure the distance between the sunlight and a splotch of his dead mother’s blood. Loss is everywhere in the book, but never familiar, never static: the turned earth of the dead has “no locks to pick,” the backlit Sierras are “a jagged cardiac line.” The end result is a collection that is chiseled and refined by loss, but nonetheless leaves us feeling both satisfied and renewed.
—Steve Gerhke, author of Michelangelo’s Seizure and The Pyramids of Malpighi