'Cove,' by James Brasfield ’79, Out Now from LSU Press

Jessie Shohfi
January 27, 2023

Cove, a third book of poetry by alumnus James Brasfield ’79, is out now from Louisiana State University Press. 

In Cove, Brasfield attempts “to choose a song sown / for the moment,” to convert into language the ephemeral and fleeting moments of sensory experience that make up our lives. Propulsive, full of movement and urgency, Cove is an artist’s reckoning with the present, and his attempts to hold on to it even as it blurs by into the past. 

(Image credit: Williamson Brasfield)

Bruce Smith, poet and co-founder of the Graham House Review, said, “I love a book that begins with a ‘cortege of clouds’ and ends with ‘lapis’: it’s rich with ceremonial movement and painterly light.” 

Poet and critic Robin Becker also praised the collection, saying, “To the mystery of ‘what was once never here,’ James Brasfield brings subtle lyricism and heartbreaking narrative. In still moments―when detail animates landscape and weather, bird and flower―the poet welds geography and history into a dynamic present. Close observation powers ‘Cove,’ the magnificent title poem. This ‘song for our species’ is a sublime achievement.”

Brasfield will appear for a Facebook Live event on February 9 as a part of the LSU Press Live Author Series. He will be reading from Cove and participating in a Q&A. Registration is free and open now

Cove is available for purchase here

James Brasfield is the author of two previous books of poems, Ledger of Crossroads and Infinite Altars, and cotranslator of The Selected Poems of Oleh Lysheha, which won the 2000 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. He has twice been a Senior Fulbright Fellow to Ukraine and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.