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North of Crivitz

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These poems, set in the North Woods and rural upper Midwest, mostly unfold in free verse, although some employ a more formal, traditional structure.




Holinger’s naturalist’s eye for redemptive detail confronts the realist’s doggedness for cold-eyed fact. Amid this fervent tussle, the poet hankers for what might ‘redeem’ both himself and the beloved topography he inhabits.” – Kevin Stein, former Illinois Poet Laureate and English professor

“Speaking with diction ‘thick in the vowels / and consonants of the Upper Midwest,’ Holinger makes a local habitation lyrical – like Frost before him, whose North of Boston echoes in this book’s very title.” – Christina Pugh, winner of the 2019 Juniper Prize for Poetry

“In fine poems where a man finds the way in to a place where deer incite him to dance with them, wandering to ponds when days give back to night, to a woods on County C where stillness is untranslatable yet, often with a fishing pole in hand, nearly always with the past as companion—brother, father, grandparent, wife—Richard Holinger gives us a map to the interior and the way home.” — Carol Frost, Chair of English at Rollins College

The title poem “North of Crivitz” recalls “when rising / each morning left you breathless.” These poems capture an essence of the Upper Midwest: from snapping turtles, summer cabins, deer tracks, Sulphur butterflies and bull thistles to the ubiquitous Friday Fish Fry.  There’s not a false word in this evocative collection. — Joan Colby, author of Kithara Book Prize winner, Ribcage, Selected Poems, senior editor of FutureCycle Press, and an associate editor of Good Works Review


In North of Crivitz, Richard Holinger evokes life in small towns and rural communities of the American Midwest, reflecting his own inner geography with snapshots of fishing piers, forests, snow, morning light, deer, butterflies and worms, cornfields, the moon. From childhood through the Viet Nam years to adulthood and a life of teaching and writing, Holinger’s sure, clear voice allows the reader to enter the magical universe of ordinary life and to reflect on what it means to be fully human in relationship to other humans and the natural world. An exquisite and deeply satisfying collection of poems. — Donna Pucciani, multiple winner, National Federation of State Poetry Society’s 2018 contest, and author of A Light Dusting of Breath (Chicago: Virtual Artists Collective, 2016)

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