David Ebenbach

We Were the People Who Moved
David Ebenbach

“In We Were the People Who Moved, David Ebenbach takes the reader on a journey across America, pausing for a freight train or for Passover in ordinary places, in poems filled with both an American restlessness and a post-Holocaust sadness. But Ebenbach also offers reasons for exalting in the glorious minutia of this often rootless world—babies are born, holidays celebrated as the “day opens wider, the sun burning/ like everything else.” This is a journey you will be grateful for having taken, a book that will stay with you long after the last poem.”
—Jesse Lee Kercheval, author of Cinema Muto, Dog Angel, and World as Dictionary

“Poem by poem, Ebenbach’s new collection transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. The result is a book of continual brilliance. Sometimes the reader is jolted by a sense of danger and displacement and sometimes the reader is stunned into recognition. Either way, we see the world anew. The world may be raw and purposeless (“The / breath I get is all mildew”), while at other times “Shabbat comes over West Philadelphia / on quiet wings.” These profoundly moving poems register in the reader’s heart and won’t be budged. Truth-telling and tonic, they are poems by which to measure one’s life.”
—Kelly Cherry, author of The Life and Death of
Poetry, A Kind of Dream,
and Hazard and Prospect

“If Elizabeth Bishop’s Man-Moth, the city’s subterranean searcher, moved to the Midwest, he might shadow the speaker of David Ebenbach’s poetry, walking the “foreign lawn and foliage“ of small-town Indiana, where lightning from the “fathomless sky” strikes down Football Jesus, and where the “robotic corn” of solar panels soak up the sun’s weight. Quick, quirky, and engaging, Ebenbach’s urban pastorals discover noisy plagues of cicadas, broken and excavated streets, and a burdened house whose gutters sag like the mouth of someone just “starting to / understand.” What redemption comes to this “inevitable place”? What escape? Clamorous passions shatter against “high white walls”; track lighting shines on “water damage, social awkwardness, deadlines.” Yet brief hope arrives in the form of a charming, interruptive son and in sudden, improvised prayers, sent from “the fringes of the universe.” The American anthem “We the People” echoes strangely through We Were the People: a post-modern “wagons west” of dislocation, brief homesteading, and the threads of regeneration. David Ebenbach, by turns impulsive, funny, astute, and moving, is a great maker.”
—David Gewanter, author of In the Belly, The Sleep of Reason, and War Bird

We Were the People Who Moved
ISBN: 9781939678195
buy from Small Press Distribution