Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

A Swallow Press Book

Compass and Clock

By David Sanders

“David Sanders is a poet of craft and beauty. …There’re no transgressions here, no showboating, or imbalance. These are poems of simple pure vision, calm poems, motivated by a wish to say what is seen, truthfully and clearly.”

Grace Cavalieri, Washington Independent Review of Books

“David Sanders is a truly talented and subtle formal poet, but his formal hand is never heavy, and is almost always even transparent.… This is mature, complete work, the likes of which are rare. At their best, his poems remind us of Frost’s maxim, that a poem is a stay against confusion.”

James Cummins, author of Still Some Cake and Then & Now

Compass and Clock is the strongest new book of poems I have read in quite some time.”

David Yezzi

“The truth these poems tell should be harsh—yet the quiet music of Sanders’s language renders it beautiful.”

Julie Kane

The poems of Compass and Clock take their inspiration from the intersection of the natural world and the human, exploring the landscapes in which those intersections occur. Those landscapes range from David Sanders’s native midwestern countryside to the caves of Lascaux and an enchanted lake where relics of lost lives are washed ashore. Yet, the true source of the poems’ vitality is Sanders’s attention to the missed or misread moments, those times when the act fails, and the perceived clashes with the actual.

Here, the satisfying pairing of elegance and vulnerability invites the reader to tour those uncanny landscapes from which one returns irrevocably changed—refreshed, but wistful. In a review of his earlier limited-edition work, Time in Transit, the Hudson Review called David Sanders “a poet to watch.” With the Swallow Press publication of Compass and Clock, we have the realization of that promise.

David Sanders is the author of Compass and Clock (Swallow Press, 2016). For twenty years he was the series editor of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, and he was the founding editor of Poetry News in Review. His poems and translations have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He is a native of Portage County, Ohio.   More info →


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Retail price: $16.95, T.
Release date: March 2016
80 pages · 5½ × 8½ in.
Rights:  World

Release date: March 2016
88 pages
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for Compass and Clock

“For all its big concerns, Compass and Clock is not a noisy book, but one full of quietly moving meditations on a life deepened by the losses of childhood, love, faith, and artistic possibility: ‘the strings / ease further out of tune against / the padded hammers waiting to be sprung.’ But Sanders knows well it is love itself that makes us miss and mourn the things we’ve lost.”

Andrew Hudgins

“Don’t deny yourself the full feast of Sanders’ verse. Compass and Clock serves elegant and satisfying poems from the everyday ingredients of human experience.”

Huffington Post

Compass and Clock abounds in the deceptively plain language and sensibility that, in other permutations, has produced poets like Clare, Borges, and Bishop. Sanders’s kind, observant clarity can lull you into a sense of ease, even as he lays open the poignancy and diverse fascinations of existing on earth. Each subject is handled with the evenhanded generosity of a true artist, and turned quietly to the service of his imaginative take on the ancient themes. Sometimes one precisely chosen detail can seem to give you a whole world.”

Joshua Mehigan

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