In January, the Geese
by B.J. Buckley
26 poems ~ 40 pages
Price: $16.00 + $3.00 postage
Publisher: The Comstock Review, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-7337051-3-4
To Order: Please send a check or money order for  $16.00 plus $3.00 shipping, per order,
with your return address to "The Comstock Review," 4956 St. John Drive, Syracuse, NY


As a Montana native, B.J. Buckley is well versed in the rugged, exuberance of the west. It is little wonder that Buckley’s chapbook In January, the Geese, won first place in the highly regarded Comstock Poetry Review’s 35th Anniversary Poetry Chapbook Contest. As in the title poem, where the geese “in their long strings every morning / in the pastel sky twining / south and west and east, / towards the fields of stubbled barley” … the entire collection displays Buckley's gift for painting powerful portraits where the “Late sun comes in through narrow windows, / slicing the room like bread.”


B.J. Buckley squeezes all the Big Sky possible–mountain, river, prairie, pasture, bear, and barn–into this wondrously rich volume of wildness and range. Reading it makes the heart hurt in the best ways. I proudly claimed poetic Montana citizenship after reading the magic within.
–J. Drew Lanham, author of the memoir The Home Place, and Sparrow Envy, poems.

B.J. Buckley has long been one of the American West’s most lyrical poets. In her new collection, she details forces that cause animals–including Humans–to clash with their environment: “Some of us break locks / on headgates. Some of us cut wire in the dark.” If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live in small farm country in Montana–or if you want access to a mind that notices exquisite detail while never losing sight of the horizon, these poems are your key.
–Nastasha Sajé, professor of English, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, author of Terroir, A Memoir, and Vivarium, poems

In worshipful poems “of blood and night and song,” B.J. Buckley takes the pulse of the seasons and the environmental crisis their warming shifts suggest: “It’s supposed to be bleak / midwinter,” but, “[b]uds swell.” Though Buckley’s poems are wedded to “multiple darknesses” where “shadows / are married to shadows,” she “sing[s] out … praises” “to those who … live by blood.”
–Jami Macarty, author of The Minuses, 2020 New Mexico/Arizona –Poetry Arizona Book Award


B.J. Buckley is a rural Montana poet & writer who has worked in Arts-in-Schools & Communities programs throughout the West and Midwest for more than four decades. Her prizes and awards include the Joy Harjo Prize from CutThroat: A Journal of the Arts; a Wyoming Arts Council Literature Fellowship; The Cumberland Poetry Review's Robert Penn Warren Narrative Poetry Prize; the Poets & Writers “Writers Exchange Award” in Poetry; the Rita Dove Poetry Prize from the Center for Women Writers, Winston-Salem, NC; and the Comstock Review Poetry and Poetry Chapbook Prizes. She has been awarded residencies at The Ucross Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Colrain Manuscript Conference. B. J. is available for residencies in school, community, and healthcare settings in poetry, literature, book making, and paper arts; adult writing workshops, conferences, readings; and poetry manuscript consultations. She lives with her partner and critters along the Rocky Mountain Front, in the beer barley country west of Great Falls, Montana.


by B.J. Buckley

Last night in early evening
a great horned owl appeared
in one of the silvery ash snags
on a branch so thin it seemed
a wonder that it held him, all
fluffed up in the freezing wind,
huge, watchful, silent in his
survey of the yard before him,
the alfalfa field behind, sturdy
and steady as the branch shook
and swayed, eyes golden sparks
of the leaving light, until the sky
dimmed matte grey-blue and he
was silhouette backlit by cloud,
then a darker shape than darkness,
patient, expectant–the first call
came from the treeless hayfield
east across the gravel road,
challenge and query, invisible
interlocutor–he answered,
deeper, more resonant–and so
for hours after, hours, that ancient
antiphon echoed and re-echoed
above the moan and wail of wind,
above its headlong rush through
branch and brush and last year’s
dry grasses, claiming a world
we have no claim to, world
of blood and night and song.


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