cover image Fire Season

Fire Season

Patrick Coleman. Tupelo, $16.95 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-1-946482-15-0

“Every morning I drive past wild horses on the way to work,” writes Coleman in a superb debut composed via audio recording during his commute to and from his job at the San Diego Museum of Art. The book features a rich mix of ekphrastic, landscape, and self-reflective prose poems. “I need distance, loss, or its possibility; I need the world to cede to mind and memory,” Coleman writes; this sentiment runs through the collection and complements his interest in the movement of thought through conversation and wordplay. Throughout, he muses and observes in understated lines: “Can it be childlike when it comes from a child? But childish isn’t right either.” Each poem is paired in loose conversation with a color image of a painting or sculpture from the San Diego Museum of Art. This added visual dimension expands each poem’s universe, created as they were in small pockets of time between the attentions of new fatherhood and work meetings and against the backdrop of California wildfires that smolder on the horizon. “I think of my wife and daughter, at home now, waiting for me only five minutes away, and how all distances are now measured as time.” Coleman artfully captures the transcendent moments within a busy life when “unfocused desires squeeze through the seams.” (Dec.)