My Late Mother as a Ruffed Grouse

In My Late Mother as a Ruffed Grouse, Will Nixon offers a collection of poetry that vividly recalls the suburbia of his youth and traces the trajectory of innocence to experience. Throughout, Nixon meditates on the minute, hidden, secret details that make up a life: the “loose teeth that became nickles,” the crawlspace beneath his mother’s bedroom, the coins laid out on railroad tracks. From here, he takes us on a journey through young adulthood — a “first rubber,”  the poet sipping sherry with his mother in his late teens (her valiant attempt to inoculate him against the temptations of harder mind-altering substances), college, sex, drugs, snorkeling, and television (not necessarily in that order). And at the far end of the spectrum (not to mention the other end of a life), we find the poet meditating on pollution, golf balls, life, death, and reincarnation. Thematically, the collection echoes such small press works of fiction as Kermit Moyer’s The Chester Chronicles and poetry collections as Anthony Buccino’s American Boy Pushing Sixty. All told, a detailed and loving vision of life in all of its stages.

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