“Wild Flight introduces us to an important new voice. . . language infused with wisdom and verbal ingenuity. . . mesmerizing passion. The major players and those in the shadows are given equal opportunity to speak in the strong music of this book. This is a poetry of the highest imagination, and the most energetic intelligence, written by a poet with a keen eye and a large spirit. Her hard look at this life is made beautiful by her art.”
Poem in February
This is a poem for the librarian killed in Sarajevo
by shellburst as she tried to save rare books from flames,
for the gray-ash pages falling over the city, a man
catching one, feeling its heat before the words melted to dust,
for the apartment dwellers under siege, burning their books
to survive the winter--two books to cook one pot of soup.
This is a poem for my father, 14 in '45 Germany, lying on a roof,
searching clouds for the lost smells of bakery, butcher shop,
and for the same boy, seeing his uncle beaten and thrashed
by Russian police, hiding himself in a haystack with The Last
of the Mohicans, the first time he knew reading was escape.
This is a poem for my sister's cleaning lady, who sends money back
to the Ukraine for her 5-year-old son left behind two years ago,
and for my sister, who's stopped reading to her own young son
on Thursdays so that the Ukrainian woman won't watch and cry.
This is a poem for an old woman sitting on the subway,
pretending to read a newspaper, folding it over her knees, the run
in her hose trailing to shoes wrapped with duct tape,
and for the homeless man guarding his spot, his table
on the sidewalk, selling magazines and books
found in the trash--Gourmet, Vogue, The Big Picture.
Winner of the Walt McDonald First-Book Competition in Poetry
120 pages, ISBN 978-0896726215 Cloth, 978-0896726673 Paper
“Christine Rhein makes a stunning debut in Wild Flight, distinguishing herself immediately with poems of grace and intelligence. . . this poet worked for many years as an automotive engineer. Her eye for detail, the rhythms and timing of her lines, the sureness and finesse of her prosody all reflect how she designs her poems as vehicles for her keen sense of paradox. Turning her eye toward science, technology, human relationships, love and war, she never merely describes a thing, but persuades us to a point of view that is subtle and sophisticated, sympathetic but challenging, funny and almost warm to the touch with each living moment.”
Christine Rhein, “Poem in February” from Wild Flight. Copyright © 2008 by Christine Rhein. Used by permission of Texas Tech University Press.
Online Book Reviews:
Catherine Jagoe, 2010
Marc Sheehan, 2010
Nancy Chen Long, 2012
“One of the mysteries of human life is that it is never an individual journey, a truth that Christine Rhein discovers over and over in this remarkable first book. In Wild Flight, she walks us artfully through the histories she comes from and those she is witness to in our time. . . The personal is political in these large-minded poems, and the political personal.”