Los Lorcas: Partridge Boswell
A troubadour of Roma and Luso-Sephardi descent, Partridge Boswell is the author of the Grolier Poetry Prize-winning collection Some Far Country. “Such desperate beauty in these poems,” remarks Marie Howe, “such rendered and willed surviving. Read this book if you want to remember what poetry can do to us, how it can find words for what can’t be said and shake us by our shoulders until we feel achingly alive again.” His writing has recently received the Edna St. Vincent Millay, Julia Darling Memorial, Words by Water, Bray Festival, Red Wheelbarrow, Gemini, Saguaro, and Lascaux Poetry Prizes, and surfaced in Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Salmagundi, The American Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, Plume, Solstice, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, The Moth and Forklift, Ohio. His poems and essays have been anthologized in Roads Taken: Contemporary Vermont Poetry and Vermont Poets and Their Craft. Co-founder of Bookstock Literary Festival, Boswell is the recipient of fellowships from Vermont College of Fine Arts, University of New Orleans, Ireland’s Tyrone Guthrie Centre and Vermont Studio Center. He teaches at Burlington Writers Workshop, ArtisTree Community Arts Center and Vallum Society for Education in Arts & Letters in Montreal, and serves as an advisory trustee of the Grolier Poetry Foundation.
“an Orphic voice…absolutely gorgeous”— Chard deNiord, Vermont Poet Laureate
“…precise, luminous poems…tightly wound intensity…beautifully evocative writing…Reviews of poetry always seem to end as a mere measure of the gap between what the critic can say and what a poet of Boswell’s capacity can conjure. When it comes to that kind of distance, the odometer, as Boswell writes in ‘Distances,’ is busted.”— Seven Days, Burlington, Vermont
(Boswell’s) “poems meditate on the trudge and triumph of our daily lives in a style that is electric and makes every word bristle with energy and life…this poet’s curious eye is always landing on something different. The result is surprise waiting for the reader around the bend of every line.”— Tomás Q. Morín, winner of the APR/Honickman Prize
“The winner of this year’s contest holds the power of return in such a fashion that I have thought about (his poem) every day since first reading it. ‘Flying home after the protest’ by Partridge Boswell braves the terrain of political poetry with a riveting music. Each couplet of this poem draws us in with imagery that is fresh and vivid; the poem as a whole has a rhythm and incantation that renders it a call to action—one of the hardest things, in my opinion, for a poem to do. Its sensibility brings to mind poetry’s historical greats—perhaps John Berryman, perhaps Adrienne Rich. I applaud this poet for his successful reach.”— Lisa C. Krueger, final judge, Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize
“There is much to admire in Partridge Boswell’s ‘Pop a Wheelie.’ The detail is vivid, the language precise and musical. The poem takes its time in establishing the opening and then leaps like Evel Knievel into its larger theme of a lifetime. Stephen Dobyns says the ending of a poem must be ‘surprising and inevitable’ and ‘Pop a Wheelie’ succeeds in this challenge. Partridge Boswell’s skill is apparent throughout. It’s a privilege to acknowledge this excellent poem.”— Ellen Bass, final judge, Red Wheelbarrow Prize
Recognized for his open, passionate and personalized engagement, Partridge is available for solo performances and workshops in school and community settings, and happy to tailor his repertoire to a wide variety of poetry-centric needs, topics, curricula and fora.
The Stone Cottage
sits tacit as a tomb, quieter than noise-cancelling headphones on a windless pandemic afternoon that can only think of itself, and so opts not to think. The owners are away but left a note. Walk in, latch the door, and you’ve stoppered time. Nothing gets in or out, save smoke from a basket of black turf by the hearth. From that refurbished famine farm perched too cliff-high to hear rollers roar below, you can see Fastnet tacked to the horizon and Cape Clear where once birders sighted a vagrant bobolink blown clear across the pond. As a rule, stones will sing, though these lie silent as the she-hare we spied our first morning crouched like a doorstop nibbling dew grass under the hedge, so still she disappears when you blink. Stone mute as devoted oath keepers sworn to archive windward sighs of luck and loss, joy and woe—stone thick as hay bales quarried from another time before ignorance and thought-light engulfed the barren land with furze yellow and rueful as Athenry, benign and lovely to look at until you slipped and fell into a copse of it crossing the moor. Then, you found other names for it.
That day we fell into a new rhythm old as a fulacht fiadh, resisting an urge to leap up and run outside every time sun’s face appeared like a neighbor at the window—begging sugar, offering jam, expecting tea. No urgency. She’d be back in a moment, and again tomorrow. Come morning, a pale horse grazing the slope across the road, horizon in every direction. We folded our secrets and left them beside a spray of hawthorn on the kitchen table. On cool wet days, a thin braid of peat smoke threading the sea mist. But only if you live in those parts.
Winner of the 2022 Saguaro Poetry Prize
Not Yet a Jedi by Partridge Boswell
The contest judge, Wendy Barnes, had this to say about the collection:
“Partridge Boswell’s Not Yet a Jedi rockets through the late 20th century and into the present with its diction in hyperdrive, fusing whimsy to seriousness, blunt statement to syntactic complexity. These tautly constructed poems evoke the aspirations, fresh-cut grass smell, and low-level depression that characterize cookie-cutter suburbia—and the ways the adults who grew up there cling to a played-out, optimistic vision of the American Dream despite themselves. Poems span a range of emotional registers, but even in their pensive moments, they are so kinetic that their full force can only be appreciated if you read them while popping wheelies on your BMX or grooving under the splattering light of a disco ball, where the melancholy will still find you, as “your black-lit heart blooms luminous in the blue dark.”