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Riptide by Van Hartmann

by Van Hartmann

$16.95 paperback
104 pages, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 978-0-692-63012-9
ISBN-10: 0-692-63012-0
BISAC: Poetry / American / General

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Praise for Riptide

Van Hartmann's Riptide pulls us in with its generosity of sensory details and musical language; it keeps us there with its reasonable heart. Elegiac in tone, tempered by flashes of wry humor, these poems reveal dangers "twisting in the sudden light," confess the "smallness within us," consider "what is possible and what is not." The speaker looks back to look forward and offers us what he's found there, the burden of "memory torn / from Eden that weighs on my heart like gold."
                                            —John Hoppenthaler, author of Domestic Garden

The poems in Van Hartmann's Riptide do what all good art should do: acknowledge and embrace the ambiguity of the human condition. We are shown a world in which the "tongues of lovers" sit uneasily, yet quite naturally next to the "machine gun's tight staccato roll." They span a lifetime of personal milestones and cultural atrocities - a child witnessing domestic abuse to a man witnessing his parent's decline; the Killing Fields of Cambodia to the Iraqi desert and the horrors of state-sanctioned torture. Mediating on love and desire, violence and mortality, they draw us into the natural world to show us both beauty (a batch of succulent fiddleheads plucked from the forest and offered to a lover) as well as disorder (an atom bomb test that blooms like a chrysanthemum against a childhood sky). Throughout, Hartmann resists sentimentality and the easy epiphany, giving us a clear-eyed and elegant poetics that offers nature as our brightest lodestar: "I looked for the bird - / a point, at least, / by which to measure /where and who I am." This is a beautiful book and Van Hartmann is a sure new voice in nature writing.
                                             —Sheila Squillante, author of Beautiful Nerve and Editor-in-Chief of The Fourth River literary journal


LifeEdge 030: Interview with Prof. Van Hartmann on Literature & Life



Van Hartmann teaches literature and film studies at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. He received an A.B. in History from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals. His first book of poems, Shiva Dancing (Texture Press), was published in 2007, followed by a chapbook, Between What Is and What Is Not (The Last Automat Press, 2010). He lives in Norwalk, Connecticut, and Peru, Vermont, with his wife, fellow writer and English professor Laurel Peterson.

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