May 25, 2019  

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Kolin Co-edits Anthology of Poems about the Moon

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University of Southern Mississippi Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus Dr. Philip C. Kolin has just published The Night's Magician: Poems about the Moon, co-edited with Dr. Sue Brannan Walker of the University of South Alabama, and released by Negative Capability Press.

Night's Magician is a collection of 80 new poems written by some of America's most outstanding poets, including Ted Kooser, former U.S. Poet Laureate; several state laureates; Sonia Sanchez, winner of the Wallace Stevens Award from the American Academy of Poets; and many recipients of Pushcart prizes and Guggenheim awards.

Night's Magician was initially inspired by the spectacular lunar events in 2017, especially the Great Eclipse in August. But, as Kolin points out, there were other  deeper historical and metaphysical reasons behind publishing this innovative  anthology: "As our closest neighbor, the moon reflects a host of paradoxes we wanted to see addressed in the poems--fascination and fear; calm and calamity;  beauty and upheaval; flux and eternal sameness," he said.

The poems attest to the central place the moon holds in science (astronomy , oceanography), mythology, music, art,  travel, gender studies, theology, and of course poetry. Some poems look at the moon's physical cycles, its gravitational pull, its tides, its relationship to earth, while others explore the ways it inspires hymns, love songs, operas, and sacramental meditations, and its key role in religious celebrations.

According to science historian Michael Flannery, Night's Magician embraces poems that are "playful as well as profound" while Distinguished Professor Vivian Shipley at Connecticut State University observes that "in this feast of poems" some "delve into the moon's mysterious indifference, what it coolly withholds, a puzzle that cannot be solved."

The titles of the poems reflect the diverse ways poets have responded to  the moon--"Medical Moons," "Moonstruck," "Winter Moon,"  "Icarus on the Moon," "Moon Shadows," "Blue Moons," "Blood Moons," "Trigger Warning," "Benediction for a Caribbean Moon," and “Real Presence, Moon," among others.

Readers will also find a variety of poetic forms in the Night's Magician, ranging from free verse and prose poems to haiku, pantoums, and  villanelles.

Carlos Dews, director of the Institute for Creative Writing at Cabot University in Rome, claimed, "This brilliant collection is a demonstration of the universality  . . . of the moon," and William Ferris, well-known folklorist and photographer, stated that the poets in this "fascinating collection that sparkles with imagination . . . raise the bar as they focus on the moon."

Copies of the Night's Magician are available at Amazon. 

Kolin has published more than 40 books, including nine collections of his poems, and is Editor Emeritus of The Southern Quarterly.