In the footsteps of Wallace Stevens and James Tate, James Heflin writes with intelligence, wit, and an easy relationship with the surreal. These accessible poems, from the debut collection Krakatoa Picnic, take us from a tiny hut in Argentina where orbs have fallen and arranged themselves in a number seven, through a twelve-step program and an occult’s guide to its understanding of the universe and how to reach the 33rd Degree — though there might be levels still higher, to a fish arriving unbidden on a mahogany desk, to a nighttime stroll through a village of accordionists, this Twilight Zone world manages to speak to our emotions while keeping us off balance. Always fresh, but never gratuitous, we hope Heflin’s poems will delight you.
“It is rare to read a book of poems and not a single one is directly autobiographical. To this I say: Yaaaay! Paradoxically, all poems are autobiographical: they reveal what the poet loves, fears, hates, has lost, etc. This is what a reader gets from James Heflin’s powerful and highly original poems: a man with eyes wide open, in all his joy, all his despair. You read life, not about life, but life.” — Thomas Lux