Jed Myers’s Watching the Perseids is the 2013 Sacramento Poetry Center Press Book Manuscript Award winner.
Jed Myers is the author of another collection of poems, The Nameless (Finishing Line Press, 2014). He won the 2012 Mary C. Mohr Editors’ Award offered by Southern Indiana Review, and received the 2013 Literal Latte Poetry Award. His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod International Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Atlanta Review, Crab Creek Review, and elsewhere.
Myers grew up in Philadelphia. He studied poetry at Tufts University, then studied medicine, and migrated to Seattle, where he’s raised three children and is a psychiatrist with a therapy practice. The events of September 11, 2001 compelled him to engage more fully in the arts. A musician as well, he seeks ways to bring poetry and music together, and hosts the long-running open-mic cabaret NorthEndForum in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood.
Praise for Watching the Perseids:
In Watching the Perseids, poet Jed Myers chronicles the decline and death of his elderly father from a brain tumor. Memory, language, emotional control, all are eventually surrendered. Somehow, this is not a grim collection—it’s a book of gratitude and a remarkable meditation on an admirable, gifted man shaped by his century and its sometimes tragic confinements, his heritage, his marriage, his dutiful nature; it’s a deeply affecting book of love between father and son; and it’s a thrilling love song to memory itself. Jed Myers undertakes the most difficult of subjects with compassion, clarity, restraint, and great beauty.
—Kathleen Flenniken, author of Plume and 2012-14 Washington State Poet Laureate
This insightful, incisive, and deeply loving portrait of a father is stunningly rich in detail, and profound in its depth. I am astonished at how well these poems play their wide range of emotional chords.
—James Bertolino, author of Ravenous Bliss: New and Selected Love Poems
From Watching the Perseids:
The Atoms in the Cancer
On the left side of my father’s brain,
in the core of the glioblastoma,
the cells reproduce so fast
they crowd, press, get crushed like grapes,
and create a pool, a necrotic gemisch,
in which, yet, every atom remains
pristine—electrons in faithful orbit,
nucleons tireless in their quantum
vibrancy, mesons ecstatic
in their quiverings—just like each atom
in the intricate neuron lattice
on the right side that lets Dad think
What’s this trouble saying November?
Every atom equally happy,
none in the least impaired,
whether it lives in the chaotic nation
of new decay or in the elegant
strands of the opposite hemisphere.
These tiny immortal pirates! They
dance in and out of reckless alliances—
we are their shipwrecks. They couldn’t
care—they’d be glad in the jaws
of ants on a monument-studded hillside.
Our atoms, I imagine, will shimmer
as joyfully in the void between planets
as in the murderous density of Earth’s
core. The atoms in the cancer
liquefying once-conscious terrain
on the left side of my father’s brain—
they’d be thrilled to join in composing
mushroom spores drawing moisture
from the ground in the shade of an oak
on that slope overlooking the river, or
to take part in the blackness of crows’
feathers flapping in the oak’s limbs.
And those atoms won’t mind being torn
to plasma in the hearts of stars.
You can also order here:
Sacramento Poetry Center
1719 25th Street
Sacramento, CA 95816