Those Who Keep Arriving by Julie Danho
Paperback 88 pages $16.00
Release date: September 15, 2020
(advance copies available now)
Julie Danho’s poems have appeared in New Ohio Review, Pleiades, Bennington Review, and Blackbird, among other journals. Her chapbook, Six Portraits, won the 2013 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition, and she has received a MacColl Johnson Fellowship as well as fellowships from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.
Julie has an M.F.A. from Ohio State University and lives in Providence with her husband, the poet David O’Connell, and their daughter.
In Julie Danho’s Those Who Keep Arriving, the personal is political and the political is terrifying. Danho faces this terror and transcends it to make stunning poems about creating a home and family. She often employs the ekphrasis mode, seeing well-known visual pieces anew, using them as vehicles for exploration. She also writes her own character studies in American Landscape and other forms. In “Abstraction,” a sonogram is imagined as art on a wall called “‘Moon,’ ‘Clouds,’/ ‘Volcano Taken From Above.’” The glittering surfaces of her elegant poems are as fascinating as their substance. — Denise Duhamel
More of her work is available at juliedanho.com
Those Who Keep Arriving: Julie Danho
Though both her language and imagery are powerful in her debut collection, Julie Danho’s primary gift is her mastery of mood and tone. Those Who Keep Arriving captures the anxiety, alienation, and fear that simmer beneath the surface of contemporary American life. Danho masterfully depicts the trepidation of navigating this increasingly technical and world replete with threats—both real and imagined. “Randomness is the mad king of fear,” Danho declares in a powerful poem about a woman being stabbed by her husband on the speaker’s daily bus route. Early in the collection, Danho tells us that Rothko suggested that all art should consist of ten percent hope. Her art imagines the darkest eventualities—an early death, the speaker’s husband remarrying, a freak act of terrorism— almost as a way to try to ward off harm and to keep the world as ordinary as possible. There are moments that most readers will recognize—the thrill of seeing the sad life of one’s former grade school bully, the relief when the “first father dies but it’s not your father,” the promise of eating the best chocolate chip cookie in New York City and having to get back on the train before it comes out of the oven. Perhaps the most poignant theme in the book is crystallized in its last poem. What thinking, empathetic person does not sometimes look at the world in ruin and wonder, like Rothko, if it might be better to slit one’s wrists? But hope prevails for this speaker and for us. If the beloved is still alive when most humans die off (as she learns from a scientist on the radio), she affirms that she wants to be alive with her beloved, eating bugs underground, no matter the cold or discomfort, “both of us/ quiet as roses waiting for the bees to arrive.”
—Jennifer Franklin author of No Small Gift (Four Way Books, 2018)
Garrison Keillor will read, “It’s Terrible What’s Happening There” on the April 30th podcast of The Writer’s Almanac. “I Want to Eat Bugs With You Underground” and “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie in New York City” were featured on The Writer’s Almanac podcast during the first week in April. “For My Daughter on Her First Birthday” has yet to be scheduled.