When the Cicadas Return










Songs for the Extinction of Winter


Songs for the Extinction of Winter
by Rob Cook


Songs For The Extinction Of Winter is a surrealistically silent and craggy trail into the absences of the American landscape, places that few of us acknowledge: a high school that still exists back in 1985, abandoned except for the boy killed in the parking lot and “animals drawn by remedial art students… that bleed brown water/and look like deer”; a homestead where a woman, “cold from the breath of spiders through the deepening house”, worries about her mortality, even after the world has ceased to exist.

The implications of global warming are present but never heavy handed, as images of the dying world drift beneath lines such as “Outside on the late news, the weather buried somewhere in Orion/men disturbed by the prairie’s endless grasses//A thousand skeletons of snow nailed to the river wall.” The book serves as an atlas of access roads and firetrails through the fading cities and antelope wastes. And the inhabitants of this haunting landscape flaunt their deformities as a kind of beauty that exists only in the bleakest of individuals, those who’ve acknowledged their residence in the abyss and have chosen to stay.

Always lurking behind each wounded phrase is the grieving of animals, the “stallions/born from paint/and roan kindling/(who) vault across fires left/by wandering bears.” This book is not comfortable. It will not reassure you about the goodness of humanity, the triumph of the human spirit. It is a pure and honest and highly imaginative mapping of our late-winter species, the era of the homeless indoors. Read this book and you, too, will not be able to ignore “the shrieking of microbes losing their skins.”

Crow Billings








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  Songs for the Extinction of Winter- $10.00


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Rob Cook lives in NYC's East Village. He is the author of Blackout Country (BlazeVOX Books, 2009) and his work has appeared in Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Many Mountains Moving, Tarpaulin Sky, Fence, Oranges & Sardines, The Bitter Oleander, Mudfish, Parthenon West Review, etc. He has been nominated for enough Pushcarts to know he will never win one.