72 pages, $13.95 paper
Bauer is at his best when he finds an uneasy but productive balance between his
impulses toward surrealism and straight description, erotic mysticism and
Bauer juggles landscapes—Spain and the American Midwest,
country and city—and selves: farm kid, world traveller...all with amazing
—North American Review
These are poems that chip steadily away at the obdurate outcomes of fate with a realistic and matue vision, and they are deeper and more resonant for that. Bauer is faithful to the small recoveries patience and an honest approach and appreciation in poetry can yield. These are memorable poems you can believe.
—Christopher Buckley, Judge, John Ciardi Poetry Prize
In meditations on his adopted country, Spain, and in praise songs to the American Midwest, Bauer conjures the lives of those who work the land. When ‘the dead return as/ the sound of blowing crickets,’ they do so in a place of stark windbreaks and feedlots. ‘We all need a good branding now and then,’ the wry speaker declares in ‘Waiting,’ one of several poems that explore rural boyhood and the construction of masculinity. Tenderness informs Bauer’s sharp observations: of the beloved, one speaker offers these musical lines: ‘she wants to be a bird/ flying above Barcelona.’ These poems vivify the landscapes that remain with the one who leaves—and returns, changed.
Curtis Bauer's poems are as abundant in feeling and imaginative energy as the soil of his native Midwest is abundant in natural life. The poems in Fence Line are impressive in their grace and precision and verbal strength and integrity. But they are astonishing in their beauty, luminousness, and human accuracy.
Fence Line is a terrific first book by a young poet with a unique voice and
Curtis Bauer holds a BA from Central College and an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. His poems have appeared in Barrow Street, The North American Review, Rhino, Runes, and numerous other journals. After living for several years in Mexico and Spain, he currently lives and teaches in Iowa. Fence Line is his first book.