Charms Against Lightning by James Arthur

charms against lightening$16.00 paperback

Copper Canyon Press

There is a deceptive quietness in the voice of James Arthur that masks the intensity and internal workings of his poems.  He is alone, yet never alone, as he searches for a sense of place in his solitary and complex world personifying the everyday around him.

From a kitchen in mourning that weeps onion and a turnip with a broken heart over the departed cook to keeping company with his shadow. His broad historical and political references draw the reader into this collection beginning with the title poem, Charms Against Lightning , and ending with the deceptive and beautiful Summer Song. 

    Fifty floors above the street,/You in a summer dress. Star Shaped holes in a steel chandelier/    giving shape to the stars’ elsewhereness

Arthur’s use of historical metaphor is excellent especially in the heart of the collection, with poems such as Tyrrhenian Sea, Song of the Doppelganger and Bucephalus, Charging.  In the everyday, he brings us to a cemetery, snow storm, fatherhood and a simple kiss.  

You can get the book here:

– g emil reutter


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