Scratching the Ghost

Title:
Scratching the Ghost
Poems
Dexter L. Booth
Price$15.00
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"[Scratching the Ghost] draws equally on prayer and past injury, sacred attention, and unholy substance. . . . A thoughtful first book."Publishers Weekly

“Booth’s first collection exhibits stylistic versatility and thematic range seldom found in first books.”Booklist

About the Book

Winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, selected by Major Jackson

The stub of your left leg dangles
as I hold you up, my hands inserted under your arms
like a child. You are complaining about the itch,
the burn; scratch the ghost of your calf and heel.
                        —from “Scratching the Ghost”
Dexter Booth’s ruminations on loss in this award-winning debut are rooted in a time past but one still palpable and persistent. Here are memories of love lost, family mourned, a father absent, ghosts of hometowns and childhood. Here too is a “Short Letter to the Twentieth Century” and, finally, a “Long Letter to the Twentieth Century,” as if across this collection the poet is mustering up the force to speak back to history.
 
“In Dexter Booth’s Scratching the Ghost, a cracked egg means the universe is splitting, the slap of a double-dutch rope is a broken-throated hymn, and splitting a squealing hog is akin to love-making. These are poems loyal to their own intrepid logic and reckless plausibility. Yet, lest the reader get too giddy in a fun house of mirrors, here, too, are the melodic laments and remarkable lyric passages of a poet who acknowledges the infinite current of melancholy that underlines his journey.”—Major Jackson

Additional Reviews

"After finishing these 69 pages I found myself cut off from some of the best writing I've read in a long time, without a library of work to feed my incessant need for more Dexter Booth. Here's to hoping he comes out with more entrancing work in the near future."NewPages 

"These poems are in the tradition of a very few brilliant first books that are utterly memorable."—Norman Dubie

“These are poems loyal to their own intrepid logic and reckless plausibility. Yet, lest the reader get too giddy in a fun house of mirrors, here, too, are the melodic laments and remarkable lyric passages of a poet who acknowledges the infinite current of melancholy that underlines his journey.”—Major Jackson, Cave Canem Prize judge