The Philosopher Savant Crosses the River

THE PHILOSOPHER SAVANT CROSSES THE RIVERIn “The Philosopher Savant Crosses the River,” Rustin Larson now winds his words several notches closer to a phantom sense of the certainties we once thought we could assume — the way life promised a few solid things, perhaps “the purpose of life,” which now seems sold door to door as “an abrupt change,” if anything.  Words in their ordinary sense have been released from those customary connections, and often seem spoken from a place of floating far below meaning’s surface, as if a sedimentia abounding in the reasoning of tea leaves or some other structure of correspondence beyond our normal grasp were sending messages to the surface of the page.  And yet we are inclined to wholly accept their truths, given who the sayer is.  Even adrift on this raft of free-floating words, the voice, the tone, the presence of Rustin Larson is moored in every line — the dark humor, the human suffering and human song, the impingement of childhood memories, the direct gaze at the sane absurdity of the world, have only gained ground.  “Philip Glass articulates / our brains in music,” he says, and with a craft of impeccable syntax that holds onto the same roots as Bishop’s or Larkin’s, he, too, articulates those deeply patterned structures that give us hope and keep us here, reading on.

— Audrey Bohanan

I wish you the best, Rustin.  Again, congratulations on yet another finest-kind book!


New from Conestoga Zen Press

product_thumbnail Memoir poetry of the 20th and 21st Centuries. “Like Odysseus, Larson has been trying to find his way home, or at least to redefine that home. Larson’s vehicle for his journey is the process of writing itself, which he has dedicated himself to and which he knows can be both circuitous and serendipitous. But the writer who pursues his craft, like Odysseus who pursues the journey home, must have patience. . . the poet and his journey are one.” —Stephen Schneider, Pirene’s Fountain

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And many, many thanks for the surprise of “Library Rain.”  I jumped right into it, and it’s not just that you can unfailingly find a poem in anything you come across and commit to it, but that every one of them is a hit out of the park.  I have to admit that I had to turn to “Man Arrested…” immediately, just running down the contents, and what a ride!…but then I started at the beginning and read as you intended, and all fall together in a piece, and there you are.  An aesthetic that keeps right apace with every quirky subject.

–Audrey Bohanan, author of Any Keep or Contour, finalist for the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize

“Dear Rustin, What a nice surprise to find your new book in the mail yesterday! Great work! So far ‘Relativity Cube’ is my favorite—so familiar to my heart. Thanks for all you’ve done for the world of poetry in Iowa and beyond.”

–Mary Swander, Poet Laureate of the State of Iowa

“I’m loving reading Library Rain! Each poem leads me to different worlds–personal stories of your day to day or your past, but also musings on philosophy and realities beyond. In hours lost in reading, I go on journeys with your mind as my companion. I am moved, I chuckle and am charmed. And upon my return, everything seems more alive and whimsical to me.”

–Nynke Passi, author of Oom Ealse and the Swan, finalist in the 2014 Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize of The Missouri Review.


Library Rain by Rustin Larson

North of Oxford

By Lynette G. Esposito
Rustin Larson’s poetry volume, Library Rain, has 50 pages of poems that vary in length, style and subject matter. Many of the poems have been previously published in a wide variety of literary journals and other publications.   This volume has a good mix of Larson’s tightly focused and innovative images and literary skill.
Larson, in his poem Man of The Future on pages four and five and first published in Saranac Review, focuses on a narrator who observes riders on a transit bus and gives them nicknames. One is named The Man of the Future and another is named Mrs. Rabbit. The two sit next to each other their thighs touching. Then, suddenly, they avoid each other. Larson ends this two-page seven stanza poem with:
                                 I’m no genius. I’ve made plenty

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