Corey Marks’ delightful and surprising second book The Radio Tree uses such fresh and clarifying metaphoric language that we look “through the near world” as if into “the afterlife of chance.” And what we find there are such lovely and strange inventions made from what’s near at hand—an unraveled kite string stretching over a “tornado” of debris or “tentacles of magnetic tape”—that Marks reminds us how poetry comes alive to us by way of glimpses and inklings.––Michael Collier
In The Radio Tree, Corey Marks masterfully navigates the sometimes magical, sometimes heartbreaking geographies of time and narrative—of language itself. To read this book is “to hear a new way of saying the old things: fire and grief”—in poems “fine-boned,” wise, and beautiful. The Radio Tree is a splendid collection.––Claudia Emerson
Corey Marks is a deeply meditative poet, and brings to the lyric-subgenre of the meditation all the surface complexity and richness of the lyric. He avoids, however, the easy closure of the lyric, pushing always on beyond the known into gnosis. Some poets change wildly from book to book. Some do not change at all. Corey Marks began with an individual voice and vision, and in each new phase of his writing he has pushed beyond the fluency of the earlier work, expanding, amplifying, and magnifying the particularity of that voice and vision. The poems find in the ordinary the uncanny. The poems find in recollection a clairvoyance.––Eric Pankey
Praise for Renunciation:
By some process that seems magical Corey Marks can enter the lives of others––the famous and the anonymous––and remain himself if a voice so singular we learn to trust it totally. This is what the new century’s poetry will sound like when it is written by someone truly gifted and compassionate. Marks believes so completely in the power of the imagination his words can burn you. ––Philip Levine
The Radio Tree
All night she walked until she came to a forest
and in the forest a hollow tree split like two waves.
A radio yammered from inside: her mother’s
voice—not as it is now, but as it was once—
and then her father’s, answering, though what
and for what reason she couldn’t catch, the way
at times in the backseat she would hear them
speaking less in words than strings of sound
that tied and untied and unraveled into silences
while she looked out the window at the long
black wires stretched pole by pole into the open
distance that carried other voices she couldn’t hear
and where birds settled in ones and twos to make
their own declarations lost to her in the whir
of the car gliding over gray rural roads. So many
things not speaking to her across such distances.
She would look through the near world
pouring past to the far points that remained
almost steady. They’d pleased her, those moments,
with a loneliness she knew was her own,
but she would listen differently now,
wouldn’t she, knowing what she knows.
The radio’s round face glowed inside the tree.
She turned a dial. Static rushed sentences
stripped of words and still strange to her,
estranged, as though she remained a child.
But these voices weren’t her childhood,
they were that other world of her parents’ lives.
A bare wire sparking elsewhere in the rain.
A thrush scuttling into a clear cut’s far bracket.
She thought of how, once, she woke in the night,
walked out of her house across one road,
then another and into the damaged fields, walked
until she came to a forest she’d never seen. Tidy
black rows of trees arranged there by someone’s
need for order. A second growth. Then an opening
in the dark like two waves lit from within.