From The Sky Inside the Shaking TreeWhat you feelreveals you.Watchfor the sustenanceinclined to a source,enamored of singularity,quickly here and quicklygone, shadow from whichthe body's courage comes.Firefliesapparently stumbling.I slapped one on my leg.Its blood glowed."Blessings for the Hands" follows various speakers - often disabled speakers, who never once figure themselves as objects of complaint - through the haunted dreamscape of "normalcy." Indeed, dreams are continuous presences in this unusually subtle and elegant debut collection that juxtaposes physical circumstances with the vast interior life of the imagination. The subjects of "Blessings for the Hands" are real and imagined confrontations - and reconciliations - between family members, friends, strangers, and animals.Matthew Schwartz's quasi-autobiographical verse complicates and clarifies the emotions waiting just underneath the patterns and expectations of the speakers' daylight lives, where anger, joy, corporeality, and mortality all seem to collide. For Schwartz, poetry is a sleight of hand that keeps the reader guessing through nearly imperceptible shifts between present vision and absent reality.
"Blessings for the Hands" is a lyric reckoning of the tension between the life we are given and the life we are determined to lead.