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The Wheel of Light

Hope Coulter

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  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.00" x 9.00"
  • ISBN: 978-1-938144-34-9
  • Publication Date: 2015-03-15
  • New Poets Series / BrickHouse Books, Inc.

Availability: In stock

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The Wheel of Light

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“'How long had it been . . . since I’d seen it, really looked?' Again and again, the speaker of these quiet, lovely poems asks herself versions of this question, acknowledging her kinship with 'the partially blind.' In this book about looking, about truly seeing what is before us, we are given such gifts of observation as 'the chuckling dove,' 'a bittern and one green heron / hunched in the wind / as if in shabby old topcoats,' the moon described as a 'nubbly doubloon,' a peach as a 'tennis-ball [with] okra-leaf fuzz.' But finally—and in their careful, surefooted way,—these poems point to the hidden as well, the ineffable, the 'chorus unseen.' Hope Coulter has written that rarest of things: a book that is as mysterious as it is clear. The Wheel of Light is a beautiful, deeply satisfying collection. — Davis McCombs


You're reviewing: The Wheel of Light

"The form brings the reader into the moment, the narrative quietly delivers an emotional gut-punch, and much of the language is positively beautiful." — Marck L. Beggs in Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies, April, 2017, vol. 48, no. 1


"Hope Coulter’s poems are river rocks, rough but slowly turning smooth with the water’s work. Here is a poet who has gotten to know her planet, loved it in real time. Her moments, like her vowels, are Southern slow and made for savoring. Poetry like this helps me live better." —Greg Brownderville


"The Wheel of Light, Hope Coulter’s debut poetry collection, is a book of appreciations and penetrations. It is a book about memory and love. About longing and loss. Comfortable writing in both traditional and open forms, Coulter takes us on a journey in which the past becomes a springboard towards knowledge, whether bitter or sweet. 'The road to hell is paved,' she writes emphatically, knowingly. 'The thing you fear is not what does you in.' These poems explore what is 'common and wild' as native trees, the poems themselves (like the trees themselves) 'sometimes flaring gold.'” —Andrea Hollander


"The Wheel of Light illuminates both the 'lounge with leather bar stools' and the 'swallowtails, in morning coats,' which means that everything cast in the sublime glow of Hope Coulter’s gaze can shine. Coulter’s poems tell stories you believe; hit the high C, lyrically; and improvise on form with the chops of a master poet. She takes us where we want to live, so we can live more fully. These poems know that the 'trick is to show the creatures in their cycles / and [to] let them speak for themselves.' How fortunate for us that we get to listen." —A. Van Jordan


“'How long had it been . . . since I’d seen it, really looked?' Again and again, the speaker of these quiet, lovely poems asks herself versions of this question, acknowledging her kinship with 'the partially blind.' In this book about looking, about truly seeing what is before us, we are given such gifts of observation as 'the chuckling dove,' 'a bittern and one green heron / hunched in the wind / as if in shabby old topcoats,' the moon described as a 'nubbly doubloon,' a peach as a 'tennis-ball [with] okra-leaf fuzz.' But finally—and in their careful, surefooted way,—these poems point to the hidden as well, the ineffable, the 'chorus unseen.' Hope Coulter has written that rarest of things: a book that is as mysterious as it is clear. The Wheel of Light is a beautiful, deeply satisfying collection." —Davis McCombs


"Hope Coulter has a lover’s eye for the facets of experience, the tiniest details, along with a profound appreciation for the awe and sadness with which we wonder-stumble through our lives. But she knows, too, to magnify nothing and signify all. Her brilliance is just that, brilliant, each of these poems like the wooden floor gleaming 'in the white, nether sunshine, saying // come in, come in.' Gladly, we answer, welcomed." —Alan Michael Parker

Hope Coulter

Hope Coulter is a fiction writer and poet whose work has appeared in such journals as North American Review, The Carolina Quarterly, and The Yale Review. Winner of the 2014 Laman Library Writers Fellowship, she has placed in Southwest Review’s Morton Marr poetry contest and the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Prize. Other honors include two Pushcart nominations, Arkansas’s Porter Prize for Literary Excellence, and the Short Story Award of Louisiana Life magazine.

A native of Louisiana, Hope earned her AB at Harvard University and her MFA at Queens University of Charlotte. Her novels The Errand of the Eye and Dry Bones were published in 1988 and 1990 by August House Publishers, and her children’s picture book, Uncle Chuck’s Truck, came out in 1993 from Bradbury Press. She teaches at Hendrix College, where she currently directs the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language, and lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.