Hickory Station by Adrian Rice
Hickory Station by Adrian Rice
9 x 6-inch paperback
Praise for Adrian Rice, The Clock Flower and Hickory Station
"Adrian Rice has a nice sense of what he is up to as a poet: I like and admire the way his district and his diction are so artfully tongue-in-cheek and hand-in-glove."
—Seamus Heaney, recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature
“Following in the footsteps of what was once mass immigration from Ulster to the Carolinas, Northern Irish poet Adrian Rice has become a modern land breaker of poetic territories. In his new volume, Hickory Station, there are poems of Northern Ireland memories and others of Appalachia and the Low Country. Rice knows how to bear simple and eloquent witness to family life, the reckonings of self, and to distant and adopted homelands. Like many before him, Rice cannot forget the fields and woods outside the porch, the animals that make up the world without us. His poems are concise, poignant, and lyrical. Hickory Station is a warm-hearted, beautifully crafted, tour-de force.”
—Jefferson Holdridge, Director of Wake Forest University Press, and author of The Poetry of Paul Muldoon
“Adrian Rice's new volume, The Clock Flower, ranges from the lovely opening sequence and his native ground of Northern Ireland in ‘The Moongate Sonnets’ to his chosen ground of North Carolina in the section, ‘Hickory Station,’ and concludes with the grimly hilarious poems that lament sectarianism back in the North through the sequence ‘Eleventh Night.’ Throughout, what impresses are the ways in which Rice adroitly wrings heartfelt emotions out of carefully constructed forms, demonstrating his deep commitment to the marriage of form and content. Rice draws on a variety of colloquial sources from the autobiographical and ribald in poems such as ‘Sniper’ and ‘Tour of Fire,’ along with the learned and refined in poems like ‘Verruca’ that compare a Belfast tramp to Beckett's archetypal homeless characters. The Clock Flower demonstrates poetry's ability to be breaking news, as Rice's carefully tuned cultural antennae enable him to speak to what is past, passing, and yet to come in our fluid world.”
—Richard Rankin Russell (2012 Centennial Professor of English, Baylor University, and author of Poetry and Peace:
Michael Longley, Seamus Heaney, and Northern Ireland (University of Notre Dame Press.)
“…Along with the poetry comes a growing awareness of the ‘independent airs’ of radical Belfast, of the great dissenting tradition of the past, of an integrationist stance. Birds flying in and out of The Clock Flower poems— blackbirds, sparrows, hawks, jays—put us in mind of John Hewitt's lines about staking his future on ‘birds flying in and out of the schoolroom window.’ Hewitt, and beyond him the nineteenth-century Dr. William Drennan (subject of Rice’s MPhil thesis), are exemplars for this poet. But Rice’s voice is distinctively his own: forthright, colloquial, wry and persuasive.”
—Patricia Craig, Times Literary Supplement
"Adrian Rice's poems expose us as the elegant animals that we are. His facile and unique control of the language can remind you of countrymen Ciaran Carson and the late great Seamus Heaney, especially when he hunkers down in the slow shadows of the trees in Western North Carolina, or in the ‘real electric life’ of the imagination's countryside to contemplate the violent upheavals of the Natural World. His description of a mother slowly drawing the breath of her husband from the balloons left over after a birthday party tragedy will stop your own breath. His examinations of American life with his poet wife and wee son are streaked with love and optimism. Rice uses silence like a painter uses negative space, reminding us that no matter where we go, we enter the new country with the old one still strapped on our back."
—Keith Flynn, editor of The Asheville Poetry Review and author of Colony Collapse Disorder
[Impediments] is a book in plain language about plain people. It shares their suspicion of excessive speech—of ornamentation, rhetoric, floweriness of feeling or surface … [it] seems, sadly and genuinely, to soulsearch on behalf of its community and therefore do it honour.
—Ruth Padel, The Mara Crossing
Deft, exact, laconic, The Mason’s Tongue is a collection to be savoured.
—Tom Paulin, author of The Secret Life of Poems: A Poetry Primer
The poems of The Mason’s Tongue are brave children of an imagination rich with the tradition of radical dissent. Bright and plain-spoken, they must be seen and heard.
—Ian Duhig, author of Pandorama
[Hickory Haiku is] a jewel of a book. Whenever I pick it up I find new treasures and I simply read them again and again. The poems have a feeling of two worlds—Hickory now, Ireland then. The book has a beautiful intensity, beautifully controlled by form and intellectual and emotional precision.
—Brendan Kennelly, author of The Essential Brendan Kennelly: Selected Poems
About the Author
Adrian Rice is from Northern Ireland, born just north of Belfast, in Whitehouse, Newtownabbey, County Antrim. He graduated from the University of Ulster with a BA in English & Politics, and MPhil in Anglo-Irish Literature. He has delivered writing workshops, readings, and lectures throughout the UK & Ireland, and the U.S. He is the author of numerous poetry collections, including The Mason’s Tongue, which was shortlisted for the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Literary Prize and nominated for the Irish Times Prize for Poetry. Adrian now lives with his wife and their young son in Hickory, North Carolina, from where he commutes to Boone for Doctoral studies at Appalachian State University.