Then, a Thousand Crows by Keith Ratzlaff


What could it mean to be gentle in an era of ill omen and terror? Ask Jesus or Mahatma Gandhi. Ask the omni-genius da Vinci, of whom Keith Ratzlaff writes, "In his last great studies / Leonardo sketched the heart / as a cathedral, its vaults and arches / perfect in their calibrations." Ask Ratzlaff himself, who -- like Leonardo -- makes art "as if beauty might be / a graceful house for the blood / and so calm its turbulence." Then, a Thousand Crows brings no easy answers, but instead the steely thing we must have to face the difficult questions: a guarded hope. -- Stephen Corey, Georgia Review

Keith Ratzlaff would like some answers. Or perhaps he would like a world that didn't need so much explaining. This collection of anecdotes and meditations, despite not being dramatically questioning, still seem to present the ghost of "I don't know why, do you?" From stories of misbehaving, fighting relatives to portraits of paintings in Amsterdam, a current of surprise runs through the plain text and action that reminds us that there are things worth knowing before we pass judgment on our neighbors. -- Roy Wang 

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