Caliche Road Poems (Paperback)

Caliche Road Poems By David Meischen Cover Image
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David Meischen conjures the hackberries and mesquite, the cotton harvests and "rainless earth" of his rural Texas homeplace with meticulous reserve, clarity, and crisp music. A work of abiding love and questing memory, this new volume provides the stirring pleasures of a family album while nimbly skirting sentimentality and reflexive nostalgia in favor of well-earned insight, jubilant celebration (mornings aglow like "carnival glass"), and able compassion. The highest compliment that I can pay Meischen is that his German-American family chronicle brings to mind James Agee's indelible and legendary "Knoxville: Summer of 1915." Caliche Road Poems is a vibrant contribution to the literature of Texas."

Cyrus Cassells, Texas Poet Laureate, 2021, author of Is There Room for Another Horse on Your Horse Ranch?

There is a boy in these poems, and there is an adult looking back at the boy, and the boy and the adult are one and the same: "I forget he's there // the nine-year old inside me / clamoring to get out," David Meischen writes. There is a mother by a clothesline and a father striking matches to keep the cold at bay. There is butchering and there is drought, and there is hard work, and there is heartbreak. In these poems, yearning is shaped like the shadow of the South Texas agarita, shaped like a rooster, a gutted lamb. In these poems, lyricism binds the living and the dead, and in each one, Meischen sings to the past, and in each one, his voice grows and glows in the dark like a caliche road in moonlight.

Octavio Quintanilla, author of the poetry collections, If I Go Missing and The Book of Wounded Sparrows

The poet asks a cousin, four decades gone, "Is there an after, Gary?" He answers in the pages of this collection inhabited by ghosts and memories that could only be conjured by a son rooted in caliche hardpan and reared by calloused hands that fingered rosary beads and coaxed cotton and sorghum from land better suited to huisache and prickly pear. There is an after. "No map can take you there," but David Meischen knows the way. And how lucky are we to journey with him, dusting off gravestones, taking in the gray light of a screened-in porch, touching bare feet to creaking floorboards. You'll want to travel this road again and again.

Michelle Otero, Albuquerque Poet Laureate, 2018-20, author of Vessels

In the note at the beginning of this stunning collection of poetry, Meischen writes, "These poems originate from a particular place and time-the Meischen family farm in the Dilworth community of Jim Wells County Texas, 1948 and the years that followed." Demonstrating his mastery of a number of challenging poetic forms, the poet probes, with striking detail and haunting emotional ambience, the South Texas farm life of his upbringing. The "place," however, which Meischen so vividly and poignantly captures in this remarkable collection is twofold: first, the particular flora, fauna, significant others, and unforgiving hardships of life on the Meischen family farm; secondly, and most importantly, the universal, endless pastures of the human heart.

Larry D. Thomas, Texas Poet Laureate, 2008, author of As If Light Actually Matters: New & Selected Poems

Product Details
ISBN: 9781962148030
ISBN-10: 1962148033
Publisher: Lamar University Press
Publication Date: February 14th, 2024
Pages: 110
Language: English