AXE, FIRE, MULE, Poems by Craig Albin


          In Axe, Fire, Mule, Craig Albin gives readers essences from Ozark culture—the feel of wind, the fear of drought, the faraway sounds of coyotes. He helps us intuit the anxious pride of a boy riding a bronco or an immigrant learning English. Most of all, Albin gives readers a community kept (mostly) honest by shared hardships, freedoms, and attachments. Albin writes in the tradition of Robert Frost and William Faulkner, Wendell Berry and R.T. Smith, wherein a land’s harsh beauty reveals deep emotional truths. Nothing is perfect; everything is real. He writes with subtle control—52 poems divided into five segments of eleven each, though the final segment, “Will and Testament,” is truncated as its octogenarian speaker, Cicero Jack, muses about self and neighbors.


Many of these poems have been published individually in some two dozen journals. Axe, Fire, Mule gathers them together and adds new ones. The collection will be out in February or March, 2018.