Bird Any Damn Kind

Lucas Farrell

Read a 30-page excerpt (PDF)

“Lucas Farrell throws a spell over everything his voice touches. Crossing back and forth between zones of innocence and experience, he inhabits the child’s vision and the ancient’s: leaping, witnessing, scoffing, adoring and unsettling, searching everywhere for connection but consenting easily to nothing. One minute the poem is a parable, the next it’s your very life—laboratory, meadow, matinee; a theater that feels alarmingly exact, where anything at any moment could fall from the sky or surface blindly from the depths. In an age where we abandon wonder and have lost our fear of loss, Farrell’s poetry is testimony: loss is real, and everywhere around us. This book holds out the sad and gorgeous camaraderie of wanting-to-see.”

Joanna Klink, author of Raptus

“With Bird Any Damn Kind, the new violence is an old violence. These poems consult a tradition of hunger and Lucas Farrell brings this into being as if the reader were swallowed only to ‘awaken inside a throat.’ With his remarkable linguistic eye we lose ourselves in a ‘land where there is no land,’ a rewilding to be feared and consumed by.”

Brian Foley, author of The Tornado Is Not a Surrealist

“In the poem from which Lucas Farrell draws the title of this stunning collection, Kenneth Patchen writes ‘Bird any damn kind— / They’re all good! My God! / Grass, flowers in the wind— / What more do you want!’ In the poems herein, Farrell delivers this ‘more.’ His speakers study the earth and their own place on it as though they are solving a mystery—like divining the future based on the behavior of birds. By the time you are done, you will want to look up from the page and observe the world in the magical way that Farrell does, seeing ‘In the furious meadow, each / blowing leaf a tiny calendar,‘ noticing how ‘A green darkness traces patterns / through grass, / reciting the reasons why flowers / appear black in old movies.’ It is a pleasure to interact with a book that makes this kind of meaning: meaning but with mystery, a book that doesn’t tell you every damn thing. But makes you figure it out. Makes you want to.”

Kathleen Rooney, author of Oneiromance (an epithalamion)

Bird Any Damn Kind was the runner-up manuscript in the 2009 Caketrain Chapbook Competition, as judged by Michael Burkard.

About the Author

Lucas Farrell currently lives and works on a small goat farm in Vermont. He co-edits the online magazine Slope, and is the author of a previous chapbook, The Blue-Collar Sun (Alice Blue Books, 2009).


Cover photography © 2010 Louisa Conrad. Used by permission. The author wishes to acknowledge and thank the editors who published versions of these poems in Alice Blue, Boston Review, Cannibal, Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web 2010, Greatcoat Magazine, Handsome, Inknode, La Petite Zine, Strange Machine, and Zero Ducats. Text © 2010 Lucas Farrell.