Icarian Flux


poems by

Colin D. Halloran

ISBN: 978-1-50049-533-1, 92 pages, cover price: $14

Release date: October 2015

CHalloran_Px-2015_BkstoreColin D. Halloran is an internationally published poet, essayist, photographer, and artist who served on the front lines of Afghanistan with the US Army in 2006. After earning his MFA from Fairfield University, he began teaching writing and literature at the college level. When not teaching, he travels the country giving readings and leading workshops for veterans and civilians on understanding war through poetry and writing. Shortly Thereafter, a memoir-in-verse focused on his experience before, during and after his deployment to Afghanistan, won the 2012 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award and was a finalist for the 2013 Massachusetts Book Award. He lives in Boston with his wife, fellow veteran-writer Lauren Kay Halloran.

“And this reminds me of so much else in life/which I know,/if not by name,/then simply by knowing,” Colin D. Halloran writes, and we are free to read this as his Ars Poetica, reminding us that poetry begins not with the received knowledge of names, but with the naming anew of our knowledge. For Halloran’s Icarus, failure is a given — he knows the story and is unafraid — but it is in the dream of flight, the anticipation of it, the preparation for it, that the poetry we need is found, and only by taking yearning to its mortal limit can youth be wholly known. These are poems of great vitality and passion.” –Richard Hoffman


Icarian Flux, like Sisyphean tedium, possesses an elemental quality in Colin Halloran’s hands, becoming the raw materials from which triumph and failure are shaped, a falling that begets ascension, a rainfall that remains necessary to raise crops from the earth. Halloran attempts the audacious one-word sestina here, provides a pitch-perfect ekphrastic prose poem about Marc Chagall, posits how “birches are like time machines” and demonstrates how loss permeates the many incarnations of Icarus, some fallen, some failed, but all courageous for at least having made the attempt. The most memorable of these poems, like “Lakeridge Drive” or “Trapeze,” use childhood and memory to fashion their own wax and feathers and for a brief, glorious moment actually take flight.  –Ravi Shankar


The poems in Colin Halloran’s Icarian Flux move in ways good poetry does, subtly and intelligently, following the contours of the poet’s triumphs and defeats. Halloran’s is a new, distinctive voice that resonates well beyond his poems. Icarian Flux is a remarkable book. –Pablo Medina


Self-Portrait As Icarus

If you can’t achieve greatness elsewhere,
find it in the fall

my next will be at night
not because of lessons learned
but because I want to see

the stars from the other side
or forwards for god
(like words the sun sneaks through
the turned-too-early page)

tonight I lie

splayed on a rock by the sea
as though I’d just accomplished
the most magnificent descent

lessons taken from waves
on how best to land here

and I look up
not into paternal eyes of disappointment
but into lost, unblinking eyes above

and I notice

the Dippers, Little and Big alike,
seem upside down
pouring their contents down to earth

I shift

and shift again

but cannot stop
the constellations all from emptying

Falling: Foreword

I speak of falling

not in theory,
but in a rush of gravitas,

as one who’s fallen
and again
and knows firsthand

the way the wind
flows faster
past your cheeks
the higher up you start.

I speak as one who’s fallen
from beds, from ledges, from hilltops
mountains and sky.

I speak as one who’s tumbled
on his return to the ground
that simply couldn’t hold him.


There’s a spectacle to falling at sea level:
on impact they’ll all look down

at you

see the result—
not the cause.

The grace is in the fall
and only dreamers ever look up.

But mountains reach up to gods
and I can relate.

I practice in altitudes
where I can focus

on the fall—
not the winging up—

where I exist
with just the wind.

Following crags,
like roadmaps,

I see quarries,

where machines made by men
harvest mountains grown by gods

like grains grown by fields
are harvested by men

like men’s dreams,
grown by boys,

are harvested by gods.

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