A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood

Poems by Allen Braden


“The rich textures of many lines and passages here on such themes as nature and work (specifically, farm work) are, frankly, breathtaking.”
—B. H. Fairchild, author of Usher: Poems

“Braden weaves a graceful and philosophical web in which the ineffable and the inevitable are fatally connected. Say desire is the presence of absent reality, then beauty becomes the absence, orbed here by a sequence of sonnets, a sequence of taboos so compelling that a reader cannot help but be seduced by the brilliant symmetry, the Keatsian capability of this poet’s meditation.”
—Sandra Alcosser, author of Except by Nature

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Raised on a family farm in the Pacific Northwest, Allen Braden has deep connections to rural life. Even at its most lyrical, his language evokes the local dialect of the West, his West. These poems, balancing elegy and affirmation, measure human and animal relationships with “brute geometry” in order to calculate the damage we require of ourselves.

Returning to variations of a sonnet titled “Taboo against the Word Beauty,” Braden relentlessly pursues the possibility of naming the beautiful without ignoring what has so often and so widely been destroyed by human hands.

The VQR Poetry Series

Page count: 80 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $19.95

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Allen Braden is the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a residency from the Poetry Center and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His poems have appeared in such publications as the Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Witness.