Nebraska Center for Writers

Chimney Rock What the Critics Say
About Clif Mason

FROM THE DEAD BEFORE



From the Dead Before
Copyright © 2000
by Clif Mason
Lone Willow Press

Clif Mason writes close to the bone. These are poems of passionate witness about the grief and grace at the heart of life. A remarkable achievement. — Brent Spencer

Rumi says, "Listen. Make a way for yourself inside yourself," and this poet does. The speaker's feelings encompass joy, fear, and awe, which become forged together into praise. By understanding his place in the world, the speaker acknowledges taking "breath exhaled from the sea otter's nose" and tries to explain the almost supernatural dread; the "original fear" of the bee's "starry nectar." The speaker recognizes both the separation and the union of all there is and rejoices in it all. — Esther Leiper, Writers' Journal, March/April 1999

The poetry is serious and piercing — no tomfoolery here — just a straightforward look at the nature of life and death. — Trenton Muth, Nebraska Territory


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