Slow Wreckage: Poems
by Barbara Crooker
67 poems ~ 104 pages
Price: $16.95
Publisher: Grayson Books
ISBN #: 979-8-9888186-3-2
To Order: Amazon


The poems in this collection consider the "slow wreckage" that comes with advancing years. As well as considering the travails of an aging individual, Barbara Crooker uses a wider lens to examine the damages inflicted by society and its failings. And through it all, or despite it all, Crooker finds beauty and hope in the physical world. In Slow Wreckage, she writes with candor, irony, and ultimately, love.


Barbara Crooker's previous poetry collections have gained her a wide readership with superbly crafted poems celebrating the daily joys of what she terms an ordinary life, but she has always written, too, about loss. In this, her tenth book, loss takes center stage as she considers aging, or, as her title brilliantly puts it, the "Slow Wreckage" time inflicts upon us all. In many of these poems, Crooker widens her focus to include the failures of our society, damages inflicted upon us and upon our Earth as a result of our blindness or our country's short-sighted policies. In one poem, addressing Walt Whitman, she asks: "It's the twenty-first century, in America. Can you still hear us singing?" Barbara Crooker wants us all to keep singing in the wreckage. The song she offers is one I hope will be with us for years to come.
–Marjorie Stelmach, author of Walking the Mist and The Angel of Absolute Zero

Barbara Crooker ushers us seamlessly into each moment, whether it happened last spring or fifty years ago. Though on the surface, Slow Wreckage might seem to be about aging and loss, Crooker brings us back again and again to the physical pleasures of being alive, in spite of surgeries and intense pain, in spite of those "delicious burdens" we must carry each day...Her expansive, honest, and clear-eyed poems are exactly the medicine we need to "love in these dangerous times."
–James Crews, author of Unlocking the Heart: Writing for Mindfulness, Creativity, and Self-Compassion

For years I have been an admirer of Barbara Crooker's poems, her voice and intelligence, its truth and grounded vision offering such specific attention to the world. Slow Wreckage raises her poetic project to yet higher ground, integrating irony, wit, humor, and a metaphysical cast into the difficulties we all come to in age-the scope and range of this collection is remarkable. These poems take up loss as well as love, yet resonate ultimately with praise and thanks, singing authentically as all the best poetry does.
–Christopher Buckley, author of One Sky to the Next


Barbara Crooker is author of twelve chapbooks and nine full-length books of poetry. A recent collection, Some Glad Morning, Pitt Poetry Series, University of Pittsburgh Poetry Press, was longlisted for the Julie Suk award from Jacar Press. Her previous collection, The Book of Kells, won the Best Poetry Book of 2019 Award from Poetry by the Sea. Her other awards include: Grammy Spoken Word Finalist, the WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and three Pennsylvania Council fellowships in literature. Her work appears in literary journals and anthologies, including The Bedford Introduction to Literature.



by Barbara Crooker
            Whoever can see through all fear
            Will always be safe
                  The Tao Te Ching
                  a dizain

It’s a day of brilliant blue, lightly smudged
with chalky clouds. In the larger world, there’s
fracking, climate change, industrial sludge.
But here, none of this can reach us. Who cares

about the news? I’m in this lawn chair,
secure in its embrace. In the distance,
the surf of traffic, the hum of bees. Chances
are, none of us gets to live forever.
The shadow of the vulture on the lawn
cannot dispel this blue euphoria.

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