Every so often, one is reminded why poetry matters, how poetry makes matter, how it provides to our experience such substantial and necessary weight with so light a thing as breath. . . . Say these poems aloud, and witness a joy that fills the mouth, delights the heart, and nudges the imagination to respond in kind. This is the best collection I've read in many years. --Scott Cairns
It's been a long time--too long--since we heard a music like Melissa Range's in our poetry. The alliterative play of her splendid voice and her joy in metaphorical naming would be as recognizable to the author of Beowulf as to Gerard Manley Hopkins. Like Hopkins and young W. H. Auden, she has rediscovered and revived the Anglo-Saxon blood and bone of English. And like them, I believe, Melissa Range is going to have a lasting impact. --Mark Jarman
Melissa Range is a wordsmith, . . . unabashedly interested in the sound, force, and color of language. Her influences are many, from Gerard Manley Hopkins to Emily Dickinson to George Herbert. Her sources, too, are beautifully various--myth, the Bible, Old English riddles, a beloved Tennessee rural landscape--in all of which she finds--that soaring force that finds its power in adoring.-- . . . Reading Horse and Rider is a thrilling experience. --Elizabeth Spires
Horse and Rider takes its title from a passage in the book of Exodus: "Sing unto the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has cast into the sea." Melissa Range's poems explore violence and power, particularly as those concepts relate to religion and to the natural world. Her mixture of free and formal verse is populated with warriors, weapons, animals, and figures from the Bible and mythology. In a galloping triptych of ancient and apocalyptic visions, these vigorous poems probe the recurring image of the horse and its sometimes troubled, sometimes loving relationship with its rider.
Melissa Range was born and raised in East Tennessee. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, a "Discovery"/The Nation prize, and a writing fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her poems have appeared in the Hudson Review, Image, the Paris Review, and other journals. Currently, she is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Missouri--Columbia, where she is a David R. Francis Fellow.