-Catherine Carter, author of The Memory of Gills: Poems & The Swamp Monster at Home
Ben Cutler’s first book of poems is rooted in a particular soil, or bone, of this world, the mountains and rivers of the southern Appalachians; but its branches and crowns stretch out to the hope of a post-apocalyptic tomato sandwich and back to Eden. Cutler’s imagination, like his vulture, is endlessly hungry, but it quivers, “lip-torn and breathless”, with empathy for and identification with everything it touches—bees, bats, children, god-geese whose necks write the letter S “for all their secrets.” These are quirky, accessible poems full of the music of common language. The casual browser, in picking up this collection, need not fear being bullied or patronized—nothing too scary here, unless you count loneliness, death, the perils of love, or the end of the world. But it is in their setting that the poet’s perilous love for the world finds its context and its meaning. The Geese Who Might Be Gods will reward reading and re-reading with passage into a familiar world both rendered strange and seen anew, as on “the first day’s morning—// when everything first opened / and reached for the new light.”
To read Benjamin Cutler’s poems is to see the beauties and hauntings of our world afresh—transported repeatedly to those regions of stillness beyond the reach of words. Yet it’s with the stunning beauty of his words—their deftness, joyfulness, and might—that we are returned to our lives, more able to notice, celebrate, and mourn what was before invisible or overlooked. Here is the work of a poet, big-hearted and generous.
-Faisal Mohyuddin, author of The Displaced Children of Displaced Children
At the heart of this collection are relationships in all their complexity – family, friends, students, and the natural world, especially our relationships with the nonhuman creatures. One poem concludes that a turkey vulture is “…not so different / from the rest of us / with your belly full of dead things / and your endless hungry search.” These poems may be an “endless hungry search,” but the reader will come away sated.
–Pat Riviere-Seel, author of Nothing Below but Air & The Serial Killer’s Daughter