Poems by Joshua McKinney


"McKinney understands something elusive but binding between the word and the footstep. . . . Saunter is a coming to language as homage and as hope. And within it, there's deep joy, sharp intelligence, and expansive traveling."
—Cole Swensen

"Poets will come back to the predicament of the unsayable—call it the ecstatic, or the sublime. They will wander, or saunter, in search of the other side of things and their names, where 'pillars recede with their ribbons.' Tightly wound into an elastic precision, Joshua McKinney's poems are intent on finding the interstices where revelation might subvert observation, observation might lead to revelation. To follow this pursuit is a pleasure: 'Near an end / the sum shook / free of its figures.'"
—Ann Lauterbach

"In Saunter Joshua McKinney keeps pace with the virtues and vitalities of this world in all its wild dispersals. His syllables stride over absences and through the literal needle's-eye of pain. His poems innovate in order to go forth. There is no frivolity here, no gamesmanship. McKinney means to go where he goes, and we would do well, do very, very well, to follow."
—Donald Revell

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Joshua McKinney's debut collection of poetry, Saunter, shows immense devotion to and passion for language in all its aspects. He intensely attends to words and delights in the play of accidental connections and complications. Such amusement and playfulness with oppositions is evidenced in lines like: "an opening / a cello scales / some stairs. Risen, / a thought falls." McKinney's awareness of the complex resonance of literary history and current issues of language comes through in his dedication to making the appearance of language, not just its sound or its relative meaning, an integral aspect of his poems. Meanwhile, the subject matter is often surprisingly mythic and mysterious, championing absolute freedom and wildness. His intricate verse is sincere in its observations while turning inward on itself, sauntering in designed indirection.
Page count: 88 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $19.95

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Joshua McKinney is the author of two poetry chapbooks, including Permutations of the Gallery (winner of the 1996 Pavement Saw Chapbook Contest). His work has appeared in American Letters and Commentary, Boulevard, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, International Quarterly, Volt, and many others. He teaches at California State University-Sacramento.