With Access to Tools
Poems by Dana Wildsmith
ISBN: 978-1-956440-37-9 paperback $17.95
ISBN: 978-1-956440-38-6 ebook $9.99
In the same spirit as the iconic The Last Whole Earth Catalog: access to tools, Dana Wildsmith’s With Access to Tools offers a means for navigating a new time of change. Opening with a series of odes to traditional tools, each tool is inextricably bound to the hand and heart of the worker. The book then shifts, as has our world, to cyber tools which work at a physical remove that echoes the pandemic’s societal disruption. The book concludes with persona poems offering a note of hope through the strength of individual cerebral tools.
What People are saying about With Access to Tools
With Access to Tools is beautifully crafted, strong, and wise. It is filled with amazing insights. Dana Wildsmith’s ability to see the truth in things and speak of it with such eloquence and quietness is a true gift to us all. This book gives us new and important paths to move through the world. It is unforgettable.
—Philip Lee Williams, author of Eden’s Last Horizon: Poems for the Earth
With Access to Tools is an elegiac owner’s manual that helps readers “bushwhack through the thick” of a virus-fueled world, except this is no ordinary how-to guide. No. Wildsmith’s musical and striking sonnets, ballads, and songs veritably lift from the page to form an ars poetica that instructs and delights us while speaking to our collective trauma, where every poem finds “a home for grief, / stitching it like squares for a quilt.” These poems are a joy of cadenced verse and memory that honor the work of writing and will fill you up with anticipation and hope.
—Marianne Worthington, editor of Still: The Journal and author of The Girl Singer: Poems
This is a book that is both practical and is also a serious work of art. It rightly attends to our daily chores and the hands-on tools we need to feed ourselves, yet presents those humble tools—the hoe, for instance—in stately, metrically precise sonnets. The tools of our modern world are also presented, often through wordplay that signals the limits of such tools, because their claims for immediacy clash with reality. However, With Access to Tools wisely and lovingly suggests we need not saddle ourselves with a perceived dilemma between these stances. The ways and doings of an earlier time still matter, just as the ways of our present time matter and ask for our response. One response, voiced here with great affection, is poetry—that ancient art that builds a bridge between two realms that seem to oppose each other, but are, in fact versions of the same thing. The poems here present a reality that is fierce and grave, yet subject to whimsy. Only true art can capture such a paradox, and this fine book proves the claim, and does so with some wonderful rhymes along the way.
—Maurice Manning, author of Railsplitter and One Man’s Dark
Dana Wildsmith is the author of six collections of poetry, a novel, Jumping, and an environmental memoir, Back to Abnormal: Surviving with an Old Farm in the New South, which was the finalist for Georgia Author of the Year. Wildsmith has served as Artist-in-Residence for Devils Tower National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Everglades National Park. She is a Fellow of the Hambidge Center for Science and Creative Arts. Wildsmith works as an English literacy instructor for Lanier Technical College. She lives with her husband on an old farm in the toe of the Appalachians.