All Pilgrim by Stephanie Ford is a finalist for the 2016 Colorado Book Award in Poetry.
All Pilgrim charts our vanishing into the modern landscape, mapping both the terror and the ecstatic vision of belonging to the world. Tuned to the intermingling of peril, banality, and beauty, each poem could be thought of as a way station: a site not for reverence or relief, but for seeing and pondering the dilemmas in which we find ourselves living. Restless in its search for illumination, the voice in these poems is at turns mordant, vulnerable, and rapturous—hungry for something to sing about, but unable to ignore the signs of crisis.
“The Other Airman,” from All Pilgrim:
The moon doesn’t snuff itself out.
Does hover, tethered, over fallout shelters.
Tasseled rows of feed corn feel it
s do boys who, in dreams,
take tea with the enemy,
make love to the bombardier,
radio an aria in dashes and dots
over the sea’s flaying mirror.
Did you find, Uncle, in servitude
the mind is composed
a brain slice under plate glass?
The payload opens its petticoats,
eats a city, goes rococo
while a peony drops its incendiary head
and a child dunks her dolls in the pool,
clacks their plastic bodies together,
calls you saved, and who will tell her.
“Immanence is nothing more or less than the actual condition of things as they address the open mind and appeal to the open heart. In All Pilgrim, Stephanie Ford conducts a truly remarkable concert of immanence, noting musics I’d never thought to hear. These poems belong unmistakably to our moment. Tender to every nuance, yet undeceived, these poems are amazing.” – Donald Revell
“‘To do a sly kindness and do it / without sleeping.’ The poems of All Pilgrim empty me out alongside American freeways scattered with the refuse that bedecks Stephanie Ford’s sorrowful, resolute observations. A harm has been done. The unexpected intelligence of these poems, their fractious yet layered nuances that repeatedly push the possibilities of sense against the sensual, announce a terrific and very new poetry. I honor this work and urge you, Reader, to take part.” – Cate Marvin