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The San Simeon Zebras / C.J. Sage

The San Simeon Zebras

By: C.J. Sage

€12.00 €6.00
With virtuoso craft and a naturalist's accuracy, C. J. Sage reinvents the nature poem for the 21st century with her new volume, The San Simeon Zebras.  Inside this wondrous contemporary bestiary Sage investigates the interactions of animals and humans, using her poems for a complex apprehension of our world.  She counters pathos with whimsy, balances environmental destruction with mammalian ebullience, and sparks the...
ISBN 978-1-907056-22-2
Pub Date Monday, March 15, 2010
Cover Image Paper Boat, Zebra (Toward Noah's Ark), oil on linen, 2008 by Maryam Amiryani. maryamamiryani.com
Page Count 72
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With virtuoso craft and a naturalist's accuracy, C. J. Sage reinvents the nature poem for the 21st century with her new volume, The San Simeon Zebras.  Inside this wondrous contemporary bestiary Sage investigates the interactions of animals and humans, using her poems for a complex apprehension of our world.  She counters pathos with whimsy, balances environmental destruction with mammalian ebullience, and sparks the mournful lyric with brilliant images of zebras, elephants, egrets - and umbrellas.  Is it possible to resist playing on this poet's surname?  C.J. Sage works her words with a zesty ease, offering us both curative herb and wise prophecy.
Molly Peacock

In The San Simeon Zebras, CJ Sage distills the cadences of faith and flourish into a gorgeous bestiary. Donkeys, egrets, zebras, snails, skunks-and more-reside in a beautifully rendered world where "the clicks of gate locks croon" and we can see "a thousand rows of spiny safflower heads." Sage blends meditations on animals familiar and strange, and moves between observations of these wilder landscapes and our own backyards to "remind us what we do." A wonderful way to "remember you aren't the only creature singing" is to read these poems.
Margot Schilpp
 
These poems read like a phantasmagoric zoo-a restless, and relentless, collection of beasts created by sound-play, hallucination, and pleasure. There is a feeling of idée fixe, of obsession, that drives this poet onward to build a linguistic Island of Dr. Moreau where dream and the subconscious are barely contained by the rational impulses of language-to fascinating effect.
Larissa Szporluk

C.J. Sage

CJ SAGE edits The National Poetry Review Press. Her poems have appeared in Antioch Review, Black Warrior Review, Boston Review, Conduit, Crazyhorse, the Journal, The Literary Review, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, SubTropics, The Threepenny Review, etc. Her book The San Simeon Zebras (2010) is also from Salmon Poetry. In addition to her literary work, CJ was a beach homes Realtor in her native California for about 10 years. In 2015, she moved to Oregon to expand her work in non-profit animal rescue, advocacy, and education.


Sea Canaries


The small white whales in packs of pods

keep their pacts with us, the fated beasts.

They wail their songs and the water wavers,

and we who signed them waive our rights

to have them.  Here is where they belong,

all right, and here is where I leave them:

their pale, bountiful bodies to the sea.

I see a pail of fish and I would rather

feed on palm wood than palm one up

to shed it to those seabirds.  To bate the brink

of bygone beauty, I bring no bait.  A thatch shed

on the shore would keep me closer.  O idol

of the gulls and wingè?d seagirls and idle guitar

players, paddle deep and far off from my kind

who peddle our wares like love-me-kindly petals.


Copyright © C.J. Sage 2010

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