Pages: 72 Size: 6x9
In Far Company, we hear Cindy Hunter Morgan thinking about the many ways we carry the natural world inside of us as a kind of embedded cartography. Many of these poems commune not only with lost ancestors but also past poets. We hear conversations with Emily Dickinson, James Wright, Walt Whitman, and W. S. Merwin. These poets, who are part of Hunter Morgan’s poetic lineage, are beloved figures in the far company she keeps, but the poems she writes are distinctly hers. Poet Larissa Szporluk remarked, "The poems in this collection are quiet and deceptively simple. My first response was to be amazed by a seeming innocence in delivery—straightforward, picturesque, and compassionate—that then matured like a crystal into something precious and masterful. We are left with the whole forest having met all the trees one by one. There is so much respect in this collection—respect for natural processes that include intergenerational relationships, shared territories, and myths."
The poems in Far Company reveal a mind and a heart negotiating both self and world with compassion and invention. They are cinematic in the way they navigate loss, memory, dislocation, hope, and love—abstractions evoked in deeply specific and nuanced ways. There is the drone that flies over Hunter Morgan’s grandparents’ farm before the house burns and the stag-handled knife in a pocket, its single blade "folded inside like a secret" on a train in Greece. But this collection is full of quieter cinema, too—a grandfather bending to cinch the girth of a horse, days "green / with snap peas and wild tendrils," and "raindrops beading like sweat / on the lips of snapdragons." The root of this book is Hunter Morgan’s love for family and her love for the land her family has shared.
These poems map a journey to many places, inward and outward, and engage with the natural world and the built world, moving between both of those environments in ways that acknowledge the complexities of such crossings. Often melancholic but never sentimental, this collection belongs with any reader who seeks out literature in the organic world.
Earthly and sidereal, Cindy Hunter Morgan’s beautifully realized new book takes memory as its talisman, always mindful that ‘the stars watch from long ago.’ But ‘long-ago’ can fade like invisible ink, as when a homemade Halloween costume both erases and silences a girl at her new school, or when warrior paint impishly applied to a mother’s face prompts her baffling retreat to the hideout of her sewing room. Given so much disappearance, ‘After the Dragonflies’ strives ‘to see the world in slow motion’; but just as often, Morgan’s poems convey the eerie exactitude of time-lapse photography, duration quickened to reveal the world’s secret acts of becoming. Time after time, Far Company discovers those liminal moments when the unseen shades into vision. Who wouldn’t wish to linger there?
– Steven Cramer, author of Listen and Clangings
I simply love the quiet wisdom, the subtle music, the devotion to memory, and how imagination transforms the act of remembering, in Cindy Hunter Morgan’s poems. As she dwells in her grandmother’s orchard—the old house burned to ashes, horses dead and buried—she declaims, ‘where does anything go except / into forever.’ Following W.S. Merwin as muse, Hunter Morgan has written into the present moment a gorgeous, lyrical celebration of how the long dead live in our bodies, how time collapses and is remade in poems.
– Todd Davis, author of Native Species and Winterkill
If you make yourself available to Cindy Hunter Morgan’s poems, they will revivify your experience of the most ordinary aspects of everyday life. Layering the childhood fears, wonders, and myths of her imagination in the animal world, she creates a kind of chrysalis for the emergence of a more deeply realized awareness of our present human experience. These poems shine and resonate."
– Dan Gerber