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Somewhere We'll Leave the World

Russell Thorburn

Award Winner


Made in Michigan Writers Series

Published: September 2017
ISBN: 9780814342541
Pages: 80 Size: 6 x 9
Published: September 2017
ISBN: 9780814342534
Pages: 80 Size: EPUB

The poems in Russell Thorburn’s Somewhere We’ll Leave the World are fluid and masterful with a flow that captures an authentic consciousness. These poems breathe and allow the reader breathing room. Powerful images and deft endings arrive like the best kind of emotional left hook—the kind that leaves you wanting more.

This book is for long-walkers and dreamers who don’t mind the cold or heat or the miles ahead. The reader is taken on a journey through snowy woods, stopping to confront a wolf or meet with Jim Harrison. Divided into four sections, Somewhere We’ll Leave the World draws on the poet’s own experiences while imagining chance encounters with fictional characters and personal heroes. Before long, it is obvious to the reader that every moment is up for grabs—a late night viewing of Hell Is for Heroes, a drive down Woodward Avenue in a friend’s Volkswagen, a hike through the Mojave National Preserve. Through the book’s filmic scenes, imagine Wim Wenders behind the camera as the poet re-creates the scenes of his own life. In good company with the likes of Charles Bukowski and James Wright, Thorburn tips his hat to those who have come before him, while blazing his own winding and fantastical trail.

This thoroughly unique poetry collection gives us an honest and lyrical assessment of national wounds. Fans of surreal poetry will relish Thorburn’s work.

Russell Thorburn is the author of Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged. A National Endowment for the Arts recipient and first poet laureate of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, he lives in Marquette with his wife. His poems have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies, including Prairie Schooner, Sou'wester, Quarterly West, and Third Coast.

Thorburn shoulders through Michigan’s frigid landscape in the company of rock stars, actors, bus drivers, and poets. He roams with predators: the wolf, the hawk, and notably, the fox who savors the urbane pleasure of dining in a Chinese restaurant or reading Irish poetry. He is with them and of them, eloquent, tough, and tender. Somewhere We’ll Leave the World is better for having traveled with Thorburn through his.

– Diane DeCillis, author of Strings Attached (Wayne State University Press, 2014)

Because of Russell Thorburn’s heart and keen insights, I have remained a longtime admirer of his wise and deeply affecting poems, their seasons and songs. Every note is on key, pitch perfect, and I found myself, poem after poem, leaning in and listening. Somewhere We’ll Leave the World is virtuosic and deserving of a packed house. I applaud and embrace all that it delivers.

– Jack Driscoll, author of The Goat Fish and the Lover’s Knot (Wayne State University Press, 2017)

Thank God I am reading these poems in solitude, and not hearing Russell Thorburn read them live. I try to devour this auspicious work but get so ruined into feeling, I have to read and recover, read and recover. The Sergeant Reese letter sequence, for example, brings veritable strangers—poetic phantoms—so poignantly to life that I fall into them as if they are my kinsman. And they are. The poems in this collection will alter your emotional landscape, literally change the charge in your body. Bless Russell Thorburn for offering the world this far-ranging, lush, and wise collection. The book is a heat source. I will keep it near me for ages like a living source of spiritual food.

– John Rybicki, author of When All the World Is Old

Reader, enter here and revive your inner life. Like no current poet I know, Russell Thorburn believes in what Keats called the ‘truth of the imagination.’ The unassuming book in your hand holds irresistible worlds, poems that open like little portals into enormous novels of soldiers, artists, musicians, and movie stars, a butcher, a bus driver, a fox you might mistake for yourself in a bookstore poetry section or a Chinese restaurant late on a snowy night.

– Jonathan Johnson, author of May Is an Island: Poems

Somewhere We’ll Leave the World takes us on a ride through the ‘machinery of death’ with its delights and struggles, the ones we try to leave behind in the ditch that stretches the copacetic highway of normalcy, along with the scars of childhood memories: the battles we had with our parents, the ones that overtook us into adulthood, whether it is fighting for approval or facing our disappointments and our shortcomings: ‘that mother / . . . as if her own face would cave / from the impact of feeling.’ Russell Thorburn’s love of the cinematic weaves through his poems like cigarette smoke, a ‘shadow retreating on a stage / that is only a metaphor,’ lending a historic context to our observations, reminding us that even the demigods had their own demons: ‘His life / buried in gauze with all those family / secrets that he claws at.’ Thorburn speaks to a lost generation as they reach the place where we can look back on the ride and try to ignore the uncomfortableness of the road’s end. ‘I thought I’d last as long as the Mojave / Road.’

– Stephen Linsteadt, author of The Beauty of Curved Space

There’s a little bit of something for everyone in the collection— recognizable faces, natural beauty and musical turns of phrase. In the end, Thorburn’s poetry insists that the journey is worth as much as the destination.

– Kate Habrel, Great Lakes Echo

Thorburn's newest volume of poetry, Somewhere We'll Leave the World, shows him at his most playful and thoughtful. It is hard to sum up this volume because it has numerous themes and images, but together they form an enjoyable read that leaves one wishing he could see the world a bit like Thorburn.

– Tyler Tichelaar, Marquette Monthly

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