Land of Fire

*COMING MARCH 1, 2018!*


Land of Fire Cover FinalThe poems in Mario Chard’s first collection follow three entangled strands—a contemporary immigrant story, echoes of the Fall in Paradise Lost, and meditations on fatherhood in the shadow of Abraham’s command to sacrifice a son. The poet speaks from the American hemisphere, immersed in histories of loss from long before Magellan first glimpsed his tierra del fuego. This Land of Fire is close at hand though we try and insist upon its distance, like the sun, like Milton’s Pandemonium, like the wars outside our borders or within.




Advance Praise:

Land of Fire, with a kind of understated, shadow title — Tierra del Fuego — embraces the reality of collisions and meldings: Spanish and English, violence and peace, legend and fact, pain and creation, family comfort and the echoes of Abraham and Isaac. Mario Chard conveys that shifting reality in lines that sing, innovating choral patterns and refrains that honor the past by re-conceiving it.”

— Robert Pinsky (Judge, 2016 Dorset Prize)

“An arresting start: “We make a thing we marvel / and learn to worry,” the poet says. And then such lovely ruthless danger, dream, repetition, heart-stopping realization in this book. Mario Chard brilliantly taps Paradise Lost for its “night and chaos” to translate doomed migrants at the border, “the disappeared” in Argentina, the young watercolorist blinded by buckshot.  But also love and resilience, a sense of the sacred, of mistake and misgiving, a hike through canyons with brothers, a child’s picture book repaired so the little cardboard lever works again and the horse’s legs fly.”

— Marianne Boruch

“Power of language — stirred and replenished. Mario Chard writes spare, dynamic poems of muscular strength and deeply moving witness. ‘We think worry is a robe / we can outgrow.’ In this potent world of mixed landscapes and generations, his voice explores what we can and cannot know with elegant grace.”

— Naomi Shihab Nye

“So far, the poems of Mario Chard’s Land of Fire make the best use of third person in any 21st century lyric, and their return to the first person plural reminds us that we all look at nature hoping, often praying, for a sign: ‘The way we knew a false / pine from the true was how it moved in wind.’ Chard wields restraint with a talent that is made all the more fierce by what it masks. Each poem progresses in a mode of fairy tale or fable toward a sense of wisdom one could only gain through the deepest experience of regret.  Somehow that regret makes this a book of comfort, a book to love.”

— Jericho Brown