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Cover for Water Becomes Bone

Water Becomes Bone

C. Mikal Oness


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The poems of C. Mikal Oness fade in as if they have been speaking all along in the background in a frequency or volume lost to the human ear until their patience runs out and they enter, reverberating, sleek and insistent. With incantatory lines that are addressed more to the self than to an outward entity, Oness calls to mind Stevens’ idea of the ultimate good––to believe in fictions while knowing they are fictions, to find real bliss only in what is infinitely deferred. There is a tension between what we settle for and what we try to squeeze out of fortune; whether we “keep moving for air” or “chant and kick powder,” the results are all we have, and we do not know enough about certainty to deem them fate or divination. This is a book that searches for that certainty through reversal, and the practice of Water Becomes Bone is to pan for its gospel by yielding to contrast, sifting the bright stones in the mix.

New Issues Poetry and Prose, 9780932826893, 73pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 2000

About the Author

C. MIKAL ONESS is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Missouri. His work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Shenandoah, The Colorado Review, The Bloomsbury Review, Cutbank, and elsewhere. Among his awards are the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Mahan Poetry Prize, and the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award from George Mason University. He has a limited edition chapbook, Impossible Fires, from Aureole Press, another, Runian, from Bergamot Press, and a collection of poetry, Husks, from Brandenburg Press. He is the founding editor of Sutton Hoo Press, and currently teaches creative writing, world literature, and studies in the book at the University of Wisconsin in LaCrosse.