Little Creek is an astonishing anthology of poems from well-known American educator and poet, David Austell.
Containing the best of Austell’s work written over a decade, Little Creek begins with memories of his childhood in a small American town set against the backdrop of Vietnam and other wars, reminiscent of Robert Lowell’s Life Studies.
The poems range from a meeting with a namesake in his afterlife, the morning star over a Protestant valley, a last day at Lake Baikal, the inheritance of wars thrust upon his nation and the people, an Indian student reminding him of the immense gulf between East and West, and finally to poems inspired by an imagined NASA conquest of Olympus Mons.
Establishing Austell as a master craftsman, the ‘roaring turbulence’ of these poems will, for sure, leave his readers breathless. For Austell is a poet who takes his vocation seriously, filling the gulfs and gaps between far-flung worlds with the incantations of his prayer-like poems.
Vibrant from a contemporary American idiom, and voluptuous as ‘her long legs and round hips’, these poems are at the same time ‘thin as a strand of DNA’.
What the reviewers say:
“An impressive and wide-ranging intelligence permeates David Austell’s ambitious first book of poems. Austell is a new poet with a seasoned soul, and the treasures of this collection are manifold and rich. He has a gift for narrative, a sharp eye for detail, and a passion for language. Austell writes from both the head and the heart, and the poems that result are capacious, and substantial enough to reward rereading. Here is a bold, promising debut .”
–Deborah Landau, Director, NYU Creative Writing Program, poet and author (Orchidelerium), New York University, United States
“David’s poems are complex, yet concise and genuine, as in his ‘A Ghost Among Ghosts’, where he evokes the culture and history of Asheville, North Carolina with both knowledge and compassion.”
–Pierce Pettis, songwriter and recording artist (Compass Records), Nashville, Tennessee, United States.
“Austell is equally at home waiting for the New York subway, on Mars, and under the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. To each setting he brings verve, compassion and imagination. He makes the reader laugh, and he makes the reader care. Poems to be read and re-read.
— Christopher Southgate, British editor and poet (Easing the Gravity Field), Dartmoor, United Kingdom
“Austell’s is a world beyond heights, a passion not only for the earth but also for the spheres beyond it. Here’s a voice that’s steady and sanguine, earthly and sublime, contemporary and timeless, a voice rising above all polarities, singing songs of unattainable and imagined summits, fervent hymns in praise of globes nameless to the human imagination…”
–Yuyutsu Sharma, editor, Nirala Series