paper • 60 pages • 14.95
ISBN-10:  1-884800-47-5

Big Spring

Elliot Figman



If you dig down deep enough
and lose the world of light
and let yourself descend
in the thick tunnel of air
and forget what it was like
to learn the outline of a hill
or breast, if you allow the pressure
of the narrowing walls, down
where you must wedge in, out of sight,
and settle in the damp cusp, the first home,
the air which stinks of grease, and read
what’s written on the tunnel wall
and cannot find your name, if you dig where
there is no grip, no face, neither
friend nor foe, where the bones
which once knew the logic of your chest
scatter like thrown sticks-
there you’ll wait for the good push,
the fierce act, that gives you up
and sets the tunnel aflame.

Praise by Vijay Seshadri
Praise by Michael Collier
Praise by Colette Inez

“Elliot Figman’s poems are ecstatic in the original, the best, sense of the word. They stand out from themselves, and by doing so they give to the transparent human ardors and longings that inspire them a disquieting luminousness. They bring us, by means of their faultless elegance and their clarifying order, face to face with the astonishing paradox that only by cherishing what is within the reach of our hands and present to our eyes can we transcend the boundaries of our world. All the poems in Big Spring are beautiful, and many of them are almost unbearably so.” —Vijay Seshadri

“Praise is the abundant impulse behind Elliot Figman’s Big Spring. For Figman, praise is not simply the product of the world whose fields hold ‘the first gold heads of the crocus, / The pink and white sleeves of magnolia.’ In Figman’s universe, praise is the result of having knelt ‘down in that field / With a black bone wedged // Between your jaws, [to] speak / What you must speak softly.’ Readers will find much to praise in these direct, clear, and softly spoken poems for they remind us of the quiet and authentic urgency at the heart of lyric poetry.” —Michael Collier

“Meditative, playful, sensual, and witty, Elliot Figman’s poems offer us insights and mysteries that veer from the cool, precise ruminations on loss to lyrical intensities of joy…What begins in an exploration of sorrow and restraint ends in resonance and amplitude, all the while acknowledging an unbiased universe. It is exhilarating to read these evolved and varied poems of transformation and love.” —Colette Inez