available on Write Bloody Publishing July 2008
with a foreword by Ilya Kaminsky
available at Write Bloody Publishing's Store, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders or by order at a bookstore near you.
Deschenes' collection of honest, inquisitive poetry takes readers on a tour from the front steps in her native New England through uncharted jungle to the edge of the universe, accompanied by Einstein, Marcus Aurelius and Rumi. Poetically, she balances precise craft with heartfelt meaning. From studies of a culture moving at the speed of light to meditations upon capital-L Love, The Constant Velocity of Trains finds its heart in relativity: the intersecting, interlocking, and often exasperating perspectives that make up reality.
Read what people are saying about CVoT:
By the end, this collection becomes a book of prayer. A strange prayer. perhaps, private, individual, and sometimes desperate. And, yet, it is here, it is ours: "We fall for you. We show you / how it is done." —Ilya Kaminsky, author of Dancing In Odessa
“In case you’re not up on the latest, and best, definition: good poetry is a heady combination of pinpoint crafting, passion, relentless lyricism and boundless vision. Since this is now the only definition that matters, Lea Deschenes is flirting with perfection. It’s taken much too long for her words to reach a larger audience, an audience that’s been searching fruitlessly for what her work has always offered – bold glimpses of what exhilarates, frightens and moves us.”—Patricia Smith, author of Teahouse of the Almighty & BigTowns, Big Talk
In poems brimming with love, spiritual longing, and self-deprecatory humor, Lea Deschenes adds her “stuttering light- / weight chatter,” her insistent yes,to “the shards of Babel,” a 21st-century landscape containing both Doc Martens and “twilight martens” which “slink their sine-wave backs / for a sip of something green.” Like the newly born, Deschenes tells us, we “await severance and succor,” and we lean toward language to help us survive. “So beautiful, my lying,” she acknowledges, even as she asks God to “petal my mouth.” Such gorgeous and compelling dualities abound in this stunning debut.—Michael Waters, author of Darling Vulgarity & Parthenopi
Over the years that I’ve been following Lea Deschenes, I’ve observed two constants: high-quality, ever-interesting work, and constant motion. Just when you think you have an idea what a Lea Deschenes poem might look like, the mold is broken. Yet none of it has ever felt experimental; each and every poem feels entirely free to find its own voice, its own form. To that fierce integrity this latest volume adds an absolute precision in charting our emotional minefields; a wisdom and a surety of touch that make these poems utterly convincing. —Jack McCarthy, author of Good Night, Grace Notes
Sometimes Lea Deschenes throws the well-aimed stone of her poetry through the glass houses of hypocrisy and human coldness; sometimes she is the victim of "murderous beauty;" she is at all times intelligent, tender, and wedded to the quest for self-knowledge. She finds life "a tragical comedy/ or comical tragedy." But she also knows that "when you pray to nothing in particular/ it is for peace." There's wisdom at work, and at play, in The Constant Velocity of Trains.—Alicia Ostriker, author of No Heaven & Stealing the Language