Do You Know this Type of Tree


Out of stock

Andrew Ruzkowski

96 pages, $14 cover price
ISBN: 978-1-59948-611-6

Release date: September 13, 2016



Andrew Ruzkowski lives and writes in Chicago. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Columbia Poetry ReviewLimestone, [PANK], Midwestern Gothic, The Seattle ReviewPermafrost, Arsenic Lobster, Switchback, and Third Coast, among others. He has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, a Best of the Net award, and was a finalist for the 2012 Atlantis Award and the 2012 Kay Murphy Prize for Poetry.  His debut chapbook, A Shape & Sound, is available from ELJ Publications.  He also serves as the reviews editor for Poets’ Quarterly, and as a poetry editor for Black Tongue Review.

This debut collection of poems by Andrew Ruzkowski is extraordinary work. It has the feeling of having emerged as a practice, as a way of being in the world. And so the epigraph from Larry Eigner—“. . . a poem can be assay(s) of things come upon, can be a stretch of thinking”—is no mere ornament but rather a disclosure of deep kinship, a kind of dialogue, between these two poets. Ruzkowski is part of a life-line of poets who actually see things and who actually listen. This book is unusually supple and rich with, by turns, discursive freedom and lyric integrity (“the sound sitting there feral in deep persistence”). At once intuitive and intellectually probing, the poems are in the world and the world is the stuff of the poems. With regard to the whole gigantic life of poetry, Ruzkowski points to what’s possible, which is nothing less than what is necessary. “Let’s compound this thing so large,” he says, and does. Yes, let’s.  —Lisa Fishman



For the world we keep

here in this field

A myth being

abandoned there

A being             being here

I do mind the space

& creation more than composition


Look at a quiet puncture in the dark telling

of a street in a city                      crossing


I looked at it & turned to see the source

Resisted a fragile scheme

A globe turning full


We focus this primacy on broken dirt

the sound sitting there feral in deep persistence


There are many surfaces

There must be facets &/or some connection

whether small or smaller balancing a space


A post meaning sign/word drifting

let us in

let us into your house


Let’s compound this thing so large

it is sky come round or just a door perhaps knocking closed


The number of windows in this space is multitudinous

read      pane stacking on pane


Their surface uneven or bowing or

I am caught in the face of objects




On the walk we talk incessantly of fruiting bodies

& tree sexes or the lack thereof


For instance


               Salix babylonica

               Weeping Willow


Must have or be near a source of water

Often seen along rivers creeks lakes & ponds


Have you seen this tree




Of course you have

Origin                           China

Not                              Babylon


Come into the world

& the sun is there

& the sun is there

& rays upon us



The flowers are arranged in catkins produced early in the spring

it is dioecious

Again male & female exist on separate trees


Let’s keep walking

The mausoleums are massive in concrete & marble


The global economy of fisticuffs

a chorus                        split      some personality


Out the window to look at a wheel turning

each spoke catching light in a way woven

a discordance flying vocal chords           a definite feeling


The habit of dreams


What do you remember about how you got here

What is your name


Do you know this type of tree


Yes                               Catalpa


I like their white flowers

temporary                     & grow

just so around here        Wide flat leaves              Bean pods


make the Catalpa quite easily identifiable

Thrall to the Midwestern United States                Native



in ranges & directions & what we see




Wind has


at last

put me to bed


Please say


yes                    the body


A wheel along

the river in the road


Where did you come from


How did you arrive


Anticipating the moment

the axe falls




a rigid object                 almost


some lumber piled dizzily




Calendula for the face & body

A Chinese purple

picture on the wall


So many songs & beasts through

the cracked door cracking


A telescoping cloud inches

from my eye


cumulus                     cirrus                stratus               nimbus


& the rain has come pelting

& is known

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