The Irresistible In-Between
by David Sloan
6 x9; 90 pages, $16.95
The Irresistible In-Between by David Sloan is a gathering of poems in three sections. Through fluent and persuasive verse, David Sloan presents a range of topics from lexical semantics to how to be a better man, or how "the sky-in-water" transmutes into "the geometry of branchings." Not many of these poems are abstract contemplations. There is color, physical exertion, insomnia, repose, discovery, and family interactions we can relate to because Sloan's mastery of language is honest as his being is passionate. These poems are the product of a writer that finds precious complexities in ordinary places.
The task David Sloan takes on in this collection is nothing less than to depict the struggle to live an authentic life as a necessarily flawed human being. Sloan does not shy away from exposing what he calls ‘all my ineptitudes’ as a son, brother, father, and husband. But this uneasy awareness of the dread mingled with elation only deepens his appreciation of those human ties—and of the world around him, whose beauty remains (as in the title of one of my favorite poems) ‘unfixable.’
—Jeffrey Harrison, author of Incomplete Knowledge
As with other strong and wise writers, David Sloan strives to capture the sensations of being alive. The poems in The Irresistible In-Between are works of stunning measure: several leave me gasping. ‘Philemon and Baucis’ for example, where the poet regards how ‘the old couple’ ‘touch/each other’s shoulders’ and though they ‘feel the dizzying// closeness of divinity,’ ask of the gods ‘only not to outlive one another.’ The evidence for
such direct yet potent felicities of expression is numerous and as much in the pile as in the particle. Read just one poem and you’ll see what I mean, but be a glutton, have at it with Sloan’s deeply honest, unpretentious, generous and beautifully crafted poems. You’ll carry more life in your mind.
—Gray Jacobik, author of Little Boy Blue
The poems of The Irresistible In-Between read the way a river flows. You put a toe in the water and, next thing you know, you’re caught in the current, going wherever the water goes. This is a beautiful book, rendered with hard-won precision and clarity while offering the layers of emotion we quickly recognized as the heartscape of our lives. I think we want ferocious poems fueled by the actual passions and persistent anxieties that elbow around in our daily lives. These are those.
—Tim Seibles, author of Fast Animal
W.H. Auden said poetry is a clear statement of mixed emotions, and that’s the great gift of David Sloan’s poems. The Irresistible In-Between gives us a series of lenses, each clarifying the rich complexity of contemporary life and relationships. There is an exactitude of eye and ear here, and an unassuming confidence that makes the speaker an indispensible guide through relational thickets, where, as he says, ‘I do what I can to be near the commotion, the danger.’ I would describe all these poems the way the speaker describes his sons’ carpentry skills: ‘the casual exactness of lines/ measured out like music.’ These are indeed beautifully rendered poems.
—Betsy Sholl, author of Rough Cradle
A graduate of the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA Poetry Program, David Sloan loves living in Maine "at the edge of the world" with his wife Christine; they both work in Maine’s only Waldorf high school. He is the author of two books on teaching: Stages of Imagination: Working Dramatically with Adolescents, and Life Lessons: Reaching Teenagers through Literature. His poetry has appeared most recently in The Barefoot Review, The Broome Review, The Café Review, Carpe Articulum, Innisfree, The Naugatuck River Review, The Northern New England Review, Passager, The Prairie Wolf Press Review and Words and Images. He is a recipient of the 2012 Betsy Sholl and Maine Literary awards, and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is currently enjoying life's newest delight—grandfatherhood!