Naming the Wind (Paperback)
Poems that navigate the complexities of human relationships, personal ethics, and religious tradition.
Wind moves through this collection, opening the poems to the dying beauty of the natural world, to the weathers inside the psyche and without, and to the connections between a family and between the speaker his mentor, the great poet Jack Gilbert. The collection navigates the intimacies of human relationships with others, the challenges of working as a lawyer trying to maintain integrity as others fall prey to corporate greed, and the complexity of holding a Jewish identity while being awake to tradition’s hold on the mind and its cost. Steven Rood offers a powerful account of how to be a human in dynamic relationships while also holding respect for the non-human beings that comprise most of the life on our planet.
Rood employs structures and forms that directly relate to the content of the poems themselves. Spontaneous breaks and starts reflect the writer’s turns of mind, offering readers insight into the meaning and measure of the work.
About the Author
Steven Rood was born in Los Angeles and is a practicing trial lawyer in Berkeley, CA. His manuscript was a 2019 National Poetry Series Finalist, and his poems appear in Periodicities, Sporklet, Quarterly West, Marin Poetry Center Anthology, Fugue, Lyric, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Tar River Poetry, New Letters, Marlboro Review, Atlanta Review, Southern Poetry Review, Notre Dame Review, and elsewhere.
“Tender, curious, yearning, and full of astonishment, Rood’s poems reside in the wondrous entanglement of place and self, present and past, body and mystery. Rood’s poetry bears the marks of a life lived, of experience understood, just as his intimately observed California landscapes bear traces of geologic time. Insight awaits here, as a cache of ‘harder, ocean-smoothed pebbles’ emerges shining from a spine of ‘soft sandstone’ on Mount Diablo. Of such a pebble, Rood writes: ‘It is where art lives, and I can rub it in my palms.’ His poems, too, are where art lives. This book is a force of tenderness, a visitation of wisdom.”
— Liza Flum, Francois Camoin Fellow, University of Utah
"Late in this ranging and wild book, this Naming the Wind, Rood offers—this in response to an older poet’s challenge—'I have power, depth, fear/ as my tones, and uncertainty as my shape.' And the beauty and the multiplicity of uncertainties—that call, that calling forth—is what this book stakes its being on; and partnered to that is the acknowledgment, throughout these pages, of the profound power of intervals, of how sound’s suspended 'until a silence glows around it.' But I would be remiss if I failed to note how the book’s populated too with visitations (sightings and sittings) and that its praises include, among others, dybbuks, Dinobots, the 'ten or fifteen turkeys eating quietly amid the/ wild oats' of Twin Peaks, as though—rising or not rising off these pages—they were the storied wild birds of heaven; and other locations named into being, places equally unlikely—'Weedlot I’ve kept my eye on for thirty years,' e.g.—as well as the tantalizing possibility of a 'walk off the path into Hallelujah.' Steven Rood writes, 'Maybe I’ll turn to dust and befriend the wind.' Read this book."
— C. S. Giscombe, author of Ohio Railroads