Muddy Dragon on the Road to Heaven, Winner of the Codhill Press Poetry Award
These finely crafted, deeply evocative poems written with a tender heart, questioning mind, and an acutely observant eye, invite us to join the speaker on a trek across history, across intimate landscapes of relationships, human and animal courage, love and grief, global brokenness, and unexpected grace. — Doris Ferleger, author of Leavened and As the Moon has Breath
Whatever the topic of his poems–family, nature, childhood or fly fishing–to name a few, Grant Clauser knows that are all related. It is this understanding and wonder that undergirds these poems. Whether the characters in this book “smash atoms/ into each other/ trying to find god” or tie flies because “water is music/ I want to stand in,” these poems reach for the place where the known world meets the realm we sense but cannot know. Grant Clauser is a poet who knows the importance of vision, both in the sense of observing what is around us and in being attuned to the worlds to come. “Trust me, this is the world we deserve,” Clauser says. We will be more deserving of this world if we heed these wise and luminous poems. — Al Maginnes, author of The Next Place and Music From Small Towns
You can read a review of Muddy Dragon on the Road to Heaven at the Broad Street Review.
Grant Clauser’s newest collection of poems The Magician’s Handbook uses the surreal and the speculative to examine the beauty and hardship in the everyday. At once magical and mundane, these poems follow the Magician who starts as a neophyte and, like most of us hope, ends as a Magus
- This handbook doesn’t depend on diversion to achieve its effect. Grant Clauser is a poet with a clear eye for detail and a talent for discovering the honesty of even the most unlikely situations. The trick of this collection is how quickly we find ourselves in a world as familiar as our own.” — Brian Beatty, author of Brazil, Indiana and Coyotes I Couldn’t See
- “As intricately beautiful as it is bizarre, The Magician’s Handbook travels to the underworld and lives to tell the tale. And tell the tale it does. Gloriously, rivetingly, without pulling punches, Clauser’s unflinching vision ushers readers on a journey through forbidden realms. Zombies, magicians, carnival sideshows, and tarot readers all have their say in these spellbinding pages. But just when the narrative threatens to become overwhelmingly apocalyptic, Clauser pulls back, makes us laugh, and grounds us safely in this world, reminding us of the simple, majestic, heartrending beauty of mundanity and the redemptive power of love. A breathtaking, one-of-a-kind collection, it will make you see the world with fresh eyes.” — Tawni Waters, author of The Beauty of the Broken and Siren Song
Charles Holderfer reviewed The Magician’s Handbook for Atticus Review here.
Frank Wilson reviewed The Magician’s Handbook for The Philadelphia Inquirer here.
Winner of the Cider Press Review Book Award
- In Reckless Constellations by Grant Clauser we’re shown a memorious cast of characters in the precincts of a Dod-raucous River Road. He shouts hello to “something we missed / the first time out” and to his America with its tool kit of cruelties. Whether trying on the cast-off clothing of the dead at a Goodwill or exploring “the dark / beyond the flashlight’s / D-cell glow,” Clauser is about the people and geographies of the forever-moment. Reckless Constellations is scripted of the hope required just to live. And if hope begins and ends with a vision we trust, Grant Clauser provides that. He’s a dirt-bike rider whose story of love and friendship and connectedness unfolds under a night sky of “stars too small / to be named” and in full-daylight country in which “The sun behind the trees is broken.” The guy is the Real Thing.
—Roy Bentley, author of Starlight Taxi, winner of the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize
- The poems in Grant Clauser’s Reckless Constellations break and enter a past peopled by a cast of restless adolescents who fight, fuck, set fires and chug bottles of rotgut wine in their race away from innocence. But, as he writes in “Going Back,” “It’s not the memory you find . . . but the loss of this.” Yet from the wreckage of the past and its many losses, he excavates meaning and ultimately the sort of enlightenment that comes to those who understand the “farthest stars / can only be seen / on the darkest nights.” Fasten your seatbelt, people: This is one wild, beautiful ride of a book.
—Sarah Freligh, author of Sad Math, winner of the Moon City Poetry Prize
- In his review of the book at The Broadkill Review, editor Stephen Scott Whitaker says, “Reckless Constellations is full of guitar riffs, cigarette butts, leather boots, old cars, home cooking, kids, and stars. His downspun idiom recalls David Bottoms, and America’s rich agrarian tradition. Like a pair of good boots, Reckless Constellations provide comfort and protection for the wilderness that is American life.”
The Broadkill Review editor reviewed Reckless Constellations here.
Karen Weyant did a review an interview about Reckless Constellations at Museum of Americana.
You can read Brian Fanelli’s review of the book here.
Praise for Necessary Myths:
- Grant Clauser knows where the bodies are buried (or not buried). At times startling and unflinching, his poetry confronts the worst in us and along the way discovers language freshly marked by compassion. “Twitter loves a failure,” he writes with characteristic directness and wit. He finds sources of renewal in images of streams, rivers, and the “gossiping” of springs—and speaks up boldly, memorably, and disarmingly for the guilty and the innocent alike.
—Lee Upton, author of Swallowing the Sea: On Writing & Ambition, Boredom, Purity & Secrecy
- In “Necessary Myths” Grant Clauser focuses on little things that together gather energy to create a strong sense of place and drama. In his short poem, “Yin Garden,” this: “And somewhere out in the yard/the dandelions wound their tails/around their neighbors’ throats/killing off the wild sage/then launching their feathery/seeds into the wind.” This is what we experience in poem after poem, this energy, this changing, this launching. It is a well-wrought collection, and I am pleased to recommend it
—Harry Humes, author of Butterfly Effect and Underground Singing
- In these clear-eyed, deeply considered poems, Clauser engages the world in its entirety—from an outdoorsman’s encounters with the wild, to the daily media onslaught of terrible human news, to a father and husband’s tenderness and toughness—and offers us moment after moment of illuminated life.
—Hayden Saunier, author of Tips for Domestic Travel and Say Luck
Here’s a review of Necessary Myths at The Pedestal.
Here’s a review of Necessary Myths at Philadelphia Stories.
The Trouble with Rivers (Foothills Publishing 2012)
Praise for The Trouble with Rivers
- I’ve become very fond of his poems. Settling In is a good example of his work. This poet has a lovely way of flowing from one line to the next, and one stanza to the next. It’s very good writing and is able to carry some tragedy with it. At the same time there issome sort of triumph in “moving toward the center of the universe.”
- A trip into the woods with Grant Clauser is not simply fishing and campfires; he is one of those, you can tell, who goes to nature in order to “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life” as Thoreau said. Those of us who choose to tag along are well rewarded; there is the beauty of the wilderness, the music of the wild, and the delightful songs of the poet. Ordinary things that pass for life, fussing the late season garden, for example, can evoke curious thoughts and bring on stirring meditations.
–Louis McKee, author of Near Occasions of Sin and Still Life.
- Grant Clauser’s poems carry the reader deep into the dark canyons of grief and loss, then on to life’s renewal. They are rich with the flow of language and images which glint like bright minerals sparkling in a creekbed. They moved me deeply, and I savored their reading.
–Howard McCord, author of The Man Who Walked to the Moon
- Fox Chase Review reviewed The Trouble with Rivers here.
- A new review of the book can be found here at Philadelphia Stories.
- Nicolette Milholin wrote a review/interview on the book at her Book Bound column here.
- In Vol XXXIII, No 1 of the Mid-American Review Jason Tandon in reviewing the book says ” The clarities these poems dispense are all poetically earned. Each line is concerned with image and musical arrangements… Clauser does not sacrifice the poetry, the sensory experience, for the expository.”
Christine Brandel wrote mini reviews of the four books on her blog CLB Writes.