The Stargazers, by James McKee
“Truly fine poems….I love your work.”
~ X. J. Kennedy, author of In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus: New and Selected Poems, 1955-2007
“Intelligent…handled with pleasure and confidence… beautifully executed….This fine poetry, lush with detail and rich with sound, can savor its thematic cake and still have it later, as far as I’m concerned. Don’t we, too, prefer the ‘impeccably impure’ in art over righteous dogmatism?”
~Ron Smith, Poet Laureate of Virginia, author of Its Ghostly Workshop
“Gorgeous, splendid, even magical…This is the book I wish I’d written.”
~Christophe Cayle, author of Forget You
Poems are emotionally fraught objects some of us like to have around because, like all art, they offer the most satisfying reconciliations between ourselves and the world. The poetry of James McKee’s debut collection The Stargazers invites readers to engage with personal intensities of love, grief and time’s passage as well as with the looming forces of climate change, entrenched oppression, and weaponized history. And so, amid the numbing cacophonous welter of 21st Century American life, McKee’s poems undertake serial acts of rescue and refusal, of commemoration and condemnation, of compelled lyric outburst and deliberative public engagement. If art, as Picasso said, is “a lie that shows us the truth,” these poems neither hide their status as objects of artifice, nor despair of offering their readers the mysterious pleasure of the clarifying word.