Derick Burleson

Derick Burleson
Creative Writing and Literary Arts

 

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Derick Burleson's poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, Poetry, and many other journals. He lived and taught English in Rwanda in the two years leading up to the genocide which took place in 1994. A recipient of a 1999 National Endowment for the writing and literature at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and lives with his partner and daughter in Two Rivers, Alaska.

 

 EjoEjo

In 1994 the worst episode of genocide since the Holocaust of the Second World War ravaged the Central African country of Rwanda. Derick Burleson lived there and taught at the National University during the two years leading up to the genocide. The poems in this collection explore the cataclysm in a variety of forms and voices through the culture, myths, and customs he absorbed during this time. "Ejo," meaning "yesterday and tomorrow" in Kinyarwandan, celebrates in language both lyrical and austere the lives of the friends Burleson made in Rwanda, those who survived to tell their own stories, and those whose voices were silenced.
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 Never NightNever Night

Should we have stayed at home, wherever that may be?" a traveler writes in a notebook at the end of Elizabeth Bishop's "Questions of Travel." The poems in Never Night ask the same question as they travel textual geographies from wheat farm to boreal forest, from a cave become fallout shelter to a spy satellite's view of a wrecked oil tanker, from a gold mine's tailings to a child burying a dead guinea pig. Whether investigating a derailed train, a two-headed moose fetus or a melting glacier, these poems reveal wounded earth giving birth to shimmering form, death held at bay without artifice in the meditations of a child's new words.
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Melt Melt

"The sense-drenched offerings in MELT once again cement Derick Burleson's role as unflinching witness, a master spinner of huge tales in tiny spaces. The insistent lyrical current that pulses through these deftly-forged stanzas create a music that will immediately enthrall and captivate the reader. Burleson is a startlingly good poet who burns down borders with every word."—Patricia Smith
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Use Use

This, his fourth book, was built from a list of 600 words commonly used in the English language according to the frequency with which they appear in printed material. This word list was created by Dr. Edward Fry in the mid 1990s. Derick made each poem from this word list, in the order in which the words were presented on the list, a technique never been used before in the writing of a book of poems.
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