In the house magisterial
Finishing Line Press, 2018
"In Seth Jani's poems, the sun sometimes travels backwards, weather hovers somewhere between snow and rain, and the divine borders almost on drunkenness. This is a world outside the cartographer's eye, with shifting boundaries and uncertain horizons, where even the central characters sometimes disappear. Jani possesses the unusual ability to see the forest from eight different angles, to notice the glow of unlit lanterns. And yet his work is full of hidden fire and strange blossoming creatures, images of ghosts and angels and even demons. He hears music in the wind, feels the light of desire on his skin, becomes transfigured by incantations while walking nearly deserted streets, delighting in the small flights of swallows, intimate among themselves. This world seems a shimmering uncatchable scene, and yet he draws more than its outlines and shadows, catches something of its essence, with skillful structure and resonant syntax."
- W.F. Lantry, Peacock Journal
"The pensive tone is set in the opening list-poem, 'Some Goals for the Year,' where our expectations are transcended to something profound, not the mundane: To make the night work/… To make the body sturdy as a switch/In evil weather… And certainly to make the old, half-starved/Warhorse of the heart/…Happy for some hay. Jani’s command of language, rhythm and image, lifts the abstract into poetry. Throughout the book there’s a sense of the ethereal and a thickening poignancy, a haunting loneliness. Surreal images abound with a tenderness mixed in with the melancholy, and hope is in the middle of despair. 'Wild Pears' best shows this, but also the final poem, 'Meditation on a Sunporch in Maine.' I recommend reading this chapbook of remarkable poems."
-John C. Mannone,
Winner of the 2017
Jean Ritchie fellowship in Appalachian literature