Celebrating 75 Years

Wayne State University Press

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Broken Symmetry

Jack Ridl

Award Winner

Poetry

Made in Michigan Writers Series

Paperback
Published: March 2006
ISBN: 9780814333228
Pages: 136 Size: 5.75x8.75
eBOOK
Published: March 2006
ISBN: 9780814335208
Review

Ridl reinvigorates the familiar through his fidelity to the people and objects in his life, by giving us the chance to feel ourselves inside the world from which his language springs. His art is to embed us in details that make his thoughts and feelings seem, if not ours, than essential. This is a full and lasting collection.

— Bob Hicok

Broken Symmetry is a collection drawn from the experiences of daily life and organized through the context of mathematics. Poet Jack Ridl uses remarkably clear and precise language to express a singular awareness of the world around us. Some of the poems in this volume deal with the universal human experience of loss, others discover a fresh perspective on what is easily overlooked, and many seek the goodness and joy that remain in a challenging world. Poems are grouped into chapters by mathematical themes, suggesting a commonality in these two separate worlds that is often overlooked. The straightforward language and universal subject matter make Broken Symmetry a profound collection of poetry that will appeal to readers of all backgrounds.

Jack Ridl is professor of English at Hope College, Holland, Michigan. His poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and poetry journals. Broken Symmetry is his third volume of poetry. Ridl has also published three chapbooks, two college literary textbooks, two literary anthologies, and is recipient of several awards for his teaching of young poets.

A golden thread of rapt but undeceived attention shimmers in every line of this book. It connects a heaven to earth and the mortal past to many, many futures. In the poetry of Jack Ridl, fearful symmetries are broken by this thread, and we who read are the freer and finer for it.

– Donald Revell, author of Penny Weight Windows: New & Selected Poems

A sweet intelligence and compassionate eye are the hallmark of these wise poems-just the sort of art we need in these dark and unenlightened times.

– Richard Jones, author of The Blessing: New and Selected Poems

In Broken Symmetry, Jack Ridl writes with a directness and clarity that reminds me of Cage's 4'33 in how it frames the familiar and answers a question the poet asks: 'How to say this in the words that now are tired even of themselves?' Ridl reinvigorates the familiar through his fidelity to the people and objects in his life, by giving us the chance to feel ourselves inside the world from which his language springs. His art is to embed us in details that make his thoughts and feelings seem, if not ours, than essential. This is a full and lasting collection.

– Bob Hicok, author of Insomnia Diary and Animal Soul

Michigan Poet Jack Ridl has created a wonder of a book. If, as they say, God is in the details, the selections in Broken Symmetry glisten with the divine."

– Libretto

Jack Ridl writes meditative poems about raking leaves, about toys in the attic, about different times of the year, about his own conception, about his mailman. He proves that he can write about any common household object like Neruda. He invokes numbers, fractals, equations, and other abstract mathematical ideas as launching slips for his psyche's boat to let drift and wander the coastline of his life. And what a strange and magical coastline it is.

– Couol.com Book Reviews

Jack Ridl writes with complete generosity and full-hearted wisdom and care. His deeply intelligent, funny and gracious poems are packed with the music of genuine voices, woven with history, people and movement, the whole, delicious sweet fabric of days. They befriend a reader so completely and warmly we might all have the revelation that our lives are rich poems too. What a gift!

– Naomi Shihab Nye, author of You & Yours, Fuel, and Red Suitcase

  • 2007 Society of Midland Authors Literary Competition - Result: WINNER in the Category of Poetry
  • 2007 Society of Midland Authors Literary Competition - Result: WINNER in the Category of Poetry