Paper Lanterns

Paper Lanterns
poems by Gerry Sloan

“‘Take a look at the worst,’ wrote Thomas Hardy, ‘before you dare to speak.’ No evasions, no wishful thinking intrude in the poems about another war, then another—nor in any of the other poems. We enter the collection through Hiroshima, with paper lanterns and poems to light our way.”
Dick Bennett, University of Arkansas Emeritus English professor and co-founder of the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology

“These poems enrich themselves and their readers with sudden flashes of candor, such as when the rats at the city dump in effect transition into scavenger ‘Ed Hall’s white trash kids [who] have grown and prospered,’ oddly of a piece with our own ‘refuse / on the curbsides of suburbia.’ At base it is all the stuff of metaphor: ‘Felled trees. Dark energy. Dark matter.’ What else, after all, is there? There
is a great deal of refuse, toward which we make our ‘doomed gestures,’ somehow to ‘honor our brief presence here,’ while we refuse to quit moving, our car keys jingling in our pockets ‘like coffin nails.’ This among intimations surrounding names like Vietnam, Dachau, Hiroshima, Gettysburg. Withal, by grace or good luck, the poem itself, as a work of art, partakes in that ‘residual beauty’ that ‘settles like a butterfly on thistle,’ then becomes ‘so utterly familiar that your looking makes it new.’ We can thus be renewed by these poems offered in themselves, as well as in what they show us how to do ourselves.”
Michael Heffernan, author of At the Bureau of Divine Music

“In Paper Lanterns Gerry Sloan doesn’t allow anyone a pass. With a calm and dispassionate eye, Sloan shows us all to be complicit and forces us, sometimes by wit and sometimes by presenting
the world in the cold, clean lines of these masterful poems, to admit our hand in the creation of
our own predicaments. But by the act of including himself in this, and because he brings us so
close to the truth and allows us to witness it as he witnesses it, we are able to find there a kind of
redemption, a kind of love as well.”
—David Sanders, editor of “Poetry News in Review

“This is a book of poems by a musician—we relish this music. But he is also a poet who misses nothing. Gerry Sloan possesses a remarkable sense of nature and an ability to sniff out place names that do double-duty in the thicket that is our lives. He has truly covered the earth.”
Rebecca Newth, author of Finding the Lamb and Walking the Guest Home


About the Author

Gerry Sloan is a professor of music at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville where he recently completed his fourth decade teaching low brass and music history. Born in Oklahoma City in 1947, he was raised in eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas. His degrees are from Arkansas Tech and Northwestern University. Gerry’s poems have appeared in such journals as Yarrow, Negative Capability, The Nebraska Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and The Christian Science Monitor, plus the Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry. An essay won The Missouri Review Preternatural Readers Contest in 1987, and he received the 1990 WORDS award in poetry, sponsored by the Arkansas Literary Society. Additionally, he has been a featured reader at the Ozark Poets and Writers Collective. Three chapbooks are Driving Through Fidelity (Paper Moon Chapbooks, 1992), Invisible Guests (Piccadilly Press, 1993), and Common Time (Andy Anders, 1999). This is his first full-length poetry collection. Gerry has five children, four grandchildren, and currently resides in Fayetteville with his wife and daughter.


Links for Gerry Sloan:

University of Arkansas Department of Music

Interview in the Fayetteville Free Weekly with Blair Jackson, 2-23-12

Radio interview with Kyle Kellams on local NPR station, KUAF. 2-22-12

Prairie Schooner, 2-21-12

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