In At the Edge of Town, Grady Peterson’s poems come to us from a landscape of “dying live oaks,” walking barefooted in grass, offering a feast of unique particulars—black coffee and chickpeas, mortal angels dealing life’s realities beneath a sky of “overcast grey,” the death of a child. And even though these poems deliver a full portion of darkness, they also connect history with “the now of it, fragile as fine crystal,” and allow its light to shine through. This collection of earthy, unassuming poems belongs in the canon of a new wisdom literature for poets and readers of poetry, because they provide inspiration for writers and illumination for all who are willing to leave their comfortable center and spend an afternoon at their growing edge.
~ Terry Lucas, The Thing Itself
At the Edge of Town by Brady Peterson
“Brady Peterson, acting as barefoot guide, takes the reader to a place of past and present, a place of longing and loss, ‘a little bitter with melancholy,’ the death of a daughter, the death of a brother, of old friends, but there is also the surprise of the sudden beauty of an evening primrose blooming in his yard. The place shifts from Puerto Rico to Texas, from Hot Springs, Arkansas to Monterey, California—a patio table in Ada, Oklahoma where the poet talks of sitting with Bishop in Worcester, Massachusetts in February 1918. The town is Okay, which no longer exists but still serves as anchor. In these poems, using words of simple dramatic clarity, the poet allows the poems to belong not only to him but to us.”
~ Myra McLarey, Becoming Robbie Lee
“There are many things to love about these new poems by Brady Peterson—the invitation to break bread & drink wine on Fisherman’s Wharf; to lie awake & listen to the house asleep as ‘a light rain salts the metal roof;’ to roam the streets of Paris with Rilke chasing angels; to follow a boy home from a New Year’s Eve party, his pockets stuffed with the shoes of the pretty girl he danced with. The rare places the poet takes us are places of the mind, both remembered and imagined, conjured at his writing desk or in the plastic lawn chair from which he surveys and transforms the world. These are visionary poems wherein ordinary objects and events of everyday life shimmer and shine in all their earthy beauty. Van Gogh once wrote, ‘The best way to know God is to love many things.’ Peterson practices this profligate love, teaching the reader to fall in love, too. To read these poems is to savor and see the holiness of the homely world.”
~ Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, author of Love in the Time of Coronavirus: A Pandemic Pilgrimage and Andalusian Hours: Poems from the Porch of Flannery O’Connor