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How We All Fly

How We All Fly

By Bill GriffinPublisher: The Orchard Street PressISBN: N/AGenre: Poetry ChapbookPrice: $15.00
Available from: Griffin Poetry

Each of the poems in How We All Fly have some touch point or anchor in the natural world: a dead mouse and yellow jackets; blowing sand at Hatteras; cherry blossoms; sunsets. The poet’s process and the naturalist’s method are found to be congruent: pay attention; ask questions; make connections; share. Even so, writing a poem is an endeavor that will always fail, since words can never completely communicate joy, epiphany, despair. Metaphor becomes the most intimate path to sharing. The poet writes the image; the reader creates from it their own joy, their own inspiration. When these poems work, poet and reader become connected in some way never connected before.

Bill Griffin is a family physician (retired) in rural North Carolina. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications and he has published six prior collections, including Crossing the River (Main Street Rag 2017) and Riverstory : Treestory (The Orchard Street Press 2018). He has served on the Board of tne NC poetry Society for two decades; he showcases the work of Carolina poets at his blog GriffinPoetry.com. In 2008, Bill and his wife, Linda French Griffin, collaborated on the ecopoetry collection Snake Den Ridge, A Bestiary, set in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and illustrated by Linda. In 2010, the choral suite The Wanderer’s Carols, lyrics by Bill and music by Mark Daniel Merritt, premiered for Christmas at Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. In 2012, Bill spent a week at the NC Zoological Park in Asheboro as Poet in Residence for the Poetry of Conservation project.


Bill Griffin’s poems combine the trained eye of the naturalist with the metaphorical mind of the poet. In these poems, boiling water poured into a frozen bird bath to help the birds becomes holy water, initiating the hope that the ‘God of holy ice’ will look after our children. The seasonal pattern in the life cycle of a tree becomes a metaphor for the nature of parenthood and the necessity of letting go. Through close observations of the physical world, these clear, direct poems yield insights into the corresponding life of the spirit.


Patricia Hooper: author of Wild Persistence (University of Tampa Press)

This tender and elegiac collection, like much of Bill Griffin’s work, is imbued with his deep knowledge of the NC piedmont and its inhabitants – animal, vegetable, and mineral – each of them described with bone-deep love. Griffin’s voice is solid and certain, his work free of unnecessary frills and obscurity. Throughout these poems, but particularly toward the collection’s end, How We All Fly leads the reader up and onward, infusing even inevitable losses with tenderness, trust, and hope.


Rebecca Baggett: author of The Woman Who Lives Without Money (Regal House Publishing)