Praise for Vertical Hold
"This amazing first book--part sprinter, part long distance runner, part song, part sly wit, part visionary, part historian, part sophisticate, part roughneck--smokes like a grass fire across the Oklahoma landscape right into the whole world. There's not much Jeff Simpson hasn't observed and thought through in these big, gorgeously crafted poems, and I know I'll read Vertical Hold many times without exhausting its energy and romance."
"Jeff Simpson is a poetic omnivore, devouring America right down to its bones, which may in fact resemble Mountain Dew bottles melted into emeralds. His poems find their inspiration in the cultural detritus of an American childhood, transforming those 'beauteous forms' into poems of geniality, wit and democratic accessibility. 'You could read Wordsworth or the back of a Kix cereal box/ and find beauty and truth,' he asserts, and by the end of Vertical Hold I am ready to believe him. What choice do we have in a world in which Tintern Abbey has been supplanted by Miami Vice, Led Zeppelin, and Highlander 2: The Quickening?"
Reviews and Features
Reviewer Timothy Bradford discusses the frequent and dynamic change of the characters and situations along with "the seemingly changeless local element" of Oklahoma. "Thus, unresolvable tensions between change and stasis, between jazz-like postmodernism and folk-like regionalism, underlie this tight, gutsy, and impressive collection that was a finalist for the National Poetry Series before being published by Steel Toe Books in 2011." Bradford delves into individual poems but also discusses themes which reappear: "Throughout the book, humor acts as a counterpoint to the wistfulness, desire, and longing, both within more serious poems and in lighter poems[.]" Bradford explains Vertical Hold "'contains multitudes' in relation to both content and form, sometimes holding the picture on the screen long enough for grand narratives to unfold, sometimes letting the picture roll across the screen such that distinct, momentary images are all the reader gets. Either way, the reader is challenged, sometimes to follow along, sometimes to make meaning, but always to face age-old human dilemmas about identity, mortality, desire, and form." Click here for the full review.
First Book Interview
Read all about what it is like to get your first book published from Jeff Simpson's perspective.
About the Author
Jeff Simpson was born and raised in southwest Oklahoma and received his MFA from Oklahoma State University. In 2010 he was selected as a finalist for the National Poetry Series. His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Cimarron Review, BLIP, Copper Nickel, Harpur, Poet Lore, H_NGM_N, and elsewhere. He is also the founding editor of The Fiddleback, an online arts & literature journal. Visit him at www.jeffsimpson.org.