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Plumb Line


Steve Luttrell


List Price: 12.95*
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More than ten years in the making, this volume of 87 new poems by Steve Luttrell, former poet laureate of Portland, Maine, conjures the beauty of the New England Coast and the enduring power of nature. In sparse, accessible verse, the poet evokes the wild Maine landscape--the rocks and wildlife, the shifting planets, and the surging waters--at the same time that he casts an observant eye on his fellow creatures. He deftly melds the eternal and the transitory, the extraordinary and the routine in lines such as, "the light of long/dead stars/and the dogs/sleeping/under the bed." He imbues the small routines of daily life with quiet significance and casts the enormity of the cosmos to human scale.

Luttrell is the founder and publishing editor of the acclaimed Café Review, which has published for a remarkable 25 years and printed the work of twelve Pulitzer Prize winners. He hosts his own TV Show (Poet's Café), and has run the historical Portland Club, giving him a strong presence in the region and a large following among New England poets and writers. His intimate, unassuming voice is driven by a musician's sense of rhythm and a deceptive simplicity: "and the ships/at anchor/an emblem of/waiting/but March/is a time/of endurance/and the channel/waters deep/so waiting is/what we will do/knowing/there can be no/other way." The author has published five chapbooks and six major editions of poetry, including Home Movies, Conditions, The Vagaries: A Winter's Sequence, and Pemaquid and Other Poems. Plumb Line secures Luttell's place as an important voice in contemporary poetry.

Praise For Plumb Line: Poems

“These delicate, companionable poems are like warm blankets on cold winter nights: they are haunted by the words ‘gone,’ ‘memory,’ ‘silence,’ yet, at the same time, they celebrate the wondrous satisfactions of the living moment, however transient. Luttrell’s poems are brief, spare, barely there, yet watch them come alive in meditation’s lamplight.”
—Jack Foley

Steve Luttrell’s beautifully wrought poems fall on to the page and into the eye and ear with an absolute measure of a plumb line. Luttrell beckons the reader, who’s always “got to try hard,” to pursue the subtly accomplished depth and breadth of this moving new collection.
—George Economou

“Steve Luttrell’s Plumb Line traces, with verse, the moments that came, were spelled out, then departed, leaving a poem. I can recommend this book of love, leisure, travel, the seasons, the value of dogs, surrender to the seasons, and its pithy, wide-souled poesy.”
—Ed Sanders
"These poems are exquisitely crafted. In their concision they celebrate what draws us most keenly to the art of poetry. This is a book to be read and treasured for its lyrical grace and commitment to deeply held emotions. Steve Luttrell tailors life down to essential and luminous moments that celebrate our humanity."
—Neeli Cherkovski

"Quiet plumb line precision here, as days and lives are measured against certainty, the sure and final end that awaits us all... "
—James Koller

“Steve Luttrell’s new book, Plumb Line, is aptly named. The resonance of finding the depths in ordinary experience, foregrounding it so we see (and hear) is the art of a serious poet. Highly recommended.”
—David Gitin

North Atlantic Books, 9781583948941, 104pp.

Publication Date: May 19, 2015

About the Author

Founder and editing publisher of The Café Review, STEVE LUTTRELL has been named Poet Laureate of Portland, Maine. He is a graduate of Franklin Pierce College and is the author of ten books of poetry.