Winner of the New Measure Poetry Prize
Free Verse Editions
Edited by Jon Thompson
Information and Pricing
978-1-60235-447-0 (paperback, $14.00); 978-1-60235-448-7 (PDF, $9.99). 80 pages.(c) 2018 by Parlor Press.
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June 2018 Exemplars: Poetry Reviews by Grace Cavalieri. Washington Independent Review of Books.
What People Are Saying
In this stunning sequence of sixty short monologues, Josh Booton sets a clock in motion, a minute hand that keeps lyric time, moving back and forth, outwards and inwards. The voice at its center belongs to a boy on the spectrum whose preoccupations with seahorses and Jacques Cousteau offer us glimpses of that "secret blue little aqualung" we call poetic wonder. Each perfect rectangle of verse becomes a porthole for the reader. A clear narrative progression extends its plumb-line into the dark glamour of those depths, into which the poet plunges to return with "the whole day in one hand the night another." —Carolina Ebeid
If, as Socrates asserts, philosophy begins in wonder, and if, as Emily Dickinson recommends, we do well to "Tell all the truth but tell it slant," then the autistic speaker in Josh Booton's new collection The Miraculous Courageous is equal parts philosopher and poet, wondering at such mysteries as the contrast between seemingly empty ocean and "all / that life crowded so close" around a reef, and slanting us such truths as that happiness "smells exactly like tangerines" and that one need not be lonely in a world astir "with the rough of starfish / and rain on garbage can lids." —H. L. Hix
The Miraculous Courageous is a fractured epic, a sequence which seeks not to explain but to evoke the mind of one boy and his experience with autism. In the tradition of Carson's Autobiography of Red, Booton constructs a landscape both familiar and uncanny, a territory where our inner workings burn with the luminosity of jellyfish and "darkness turns the lighthouse on." These poems are agile, slippery, glancing at the camera then quickly away, skewing the boundaries between lyric and monologue, vignette and scene. These poems are a bridge. And through their deft conflation of inner and outer worlds, the self and the other, The Miraculous Courageous marks a rich and startling immersion in the mind of autism.
About the Author
Josh Booton's first book, The Union of Geometry & Ash, was awarded the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize. His work has been supported by grants from The University of Texas at Austin, the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation and the Elizabeth George Foundation. He lives in Boise, Idaho, where he works with children and teens with autism spectrum disorder as a pediatric speech therapist.
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