Book of Years

Title: Book of Years
Published by: Cloudbank Books
Release Date: 2021
ISBN13: 978-0-9849991-1-8
Buy the Book: Cloudbank BooksAmazon


Book of Years marks time in visceral and luminous terms, traversing the speaker’s life from childhood, though a long marriage, to old age. The decades arrive in a lyrically arresting language, imbuing them with their mystical evocations. “And because,” as the poet writes, “all snow / is desire and ash, we pull our coats / tighter each winter, pleased by / the smoke we see drifting bodily / from neighborhood chimneys, / our gloved hands buried / in our pockets.”


“A butchered horse in falling snow; a father teaching his son the brutal rites of manhood; crows, newlyweds, and the “nomad moon”—these are some of the indelible images in Doug Ramspeck’s lushly elegiac Book of Years. With a storyteller’s perfect pitch and a pilgrim’s restless eye, Ramspeck plumbs the ever present now of memory in poems that are alive to mystery, to the wasp in a glass jar that “keeps humming/a primordial tune…as though all of life is a vibration.”
Annie Kim, author of Eros, Unbroken

“The poems in Doug Ramspeck’s Book of Years explore, as one carefully-crafted lineation effect puts it, “the life of the unmade,” and discover “the way a cut flower adorns the temporary” and “clouds/going by like the uncut hair of the dead.” The dead, and the past they inhabit, inform the present in this collection in which everything can become “beautiful with forgetfulness.” And the living are here too, often in the form of a wife listening, with the speaker, to “the moon/ interrogating the land” and to how rain can be “an illusion of speech//against the eaves.” These poems are elaborate and evocative constructs that offer insight and, more significantly, consolation, which is something we need, it might be said, now more than ever.”
George Looney, author of The Itinerate Circus: New and Selected Poems 1995-2020

“A Ramspeck poem is a precise and very considered—intellectually refined and emotionally subtle—project of words. Fresh, yet modest, honest and reflective, his exact attention to his immediate world wrestles the larger meanings from experience; and his music is sure. Book of Years is a truly compelling collection.”
Christopher Buckley, author of Pre-Eternity of the World

Sample Poem

Long Marriage (Parable of the Skull)

Over years we lifted it sometimes
from its cardboard box, studying

the fifty teeth and gazing into the open
eye sockets, this possum skull we found

in our sixth year, half-buried in the dirt
behind the rental house. For decades, then,

we moved it everywhere we went,
and always it lay quietly, as patient as dirt,

and only now and then did I imagine it
dreaming that skin formed once more around

its body—the moon face and moon tail—
so it might waddle again along the river.