Language for the Living and the Dead is a new collection of poetry by Chris Ransick, appointed Denver Poet Laureate in 2006 and winner of the Colorado Book Award. These hauntingly beautiful poems explore the tense, sometimes sloppy line between life and death, joy and despair, and how paying attention to the simple delights of good friends, love, and natural beauty are the ingredients for a good life. Here is a master of words and imagery at his finest.
Chris Ransick has “something to say”-something important-about life’s cruxes, what he calls “the wounding moment.” Despite his intimations of mortality, it is the comfort that ilngers: “I would pick apples with you on our last day / and be filled up and satisfied.”
—David Yezzi, author of Birds of the Air
Again and again Chris Ransick shows us what we know to be true about the world but that only a strong poet can figure forth: that we are surrounded by both the visible and the invisible, light and darkness, life in death and death in life, which is why we need language both for the living and for the dead.
—David J. Rothman, author of The Elephant’s Chiropractor and Part of the Darkness
The voice of these poems lives in myth and dream, and therefore holds the secrets of our deepest hopes and desires. Ransick knows how to beautifully turn a line, forging music and image into moments masterfully crafted—moments that contain the high and low, bird wing and cloud, screwballs and mud. These poems haunt, humor, and cajole, while moving me to higher ground. By which I mean to say they lift me up and give
me a new perspective on what it is to be human.
—Michael J. Henry, author of No Stranger Than My Own