In Blood Flower, passionate imagery married to music bursts from each line pushing out the boundaries of Uschuk’s earlier poems. It continues themes in Uschuk’s American Book Award winner, Crazy Love. The poems braid the startling, sometimes brutal stories of her Russian/Czech immigrant family during the McCarthy Era in a conservative Michigan farming community with stories of courageous individuals, especially women, who persevere to love, despite it all. Uschuk’s step-grandfather, father, brother, nephews, and first husband all suffered severe PTSD as combat veterans who returned home from wars that ravished not only their lives, but the lives of the women and children closest to them. This is the history not just of one family but of immigrants in this nation. These poems, although set in landscapes across the globe, commonly draw their imagery and healing from the natural world, the wild world, and the integrity of the human heart.
About the Author
Pamela Uschuk is a professor of creative writing at Fort Lewis College, the editor in chief of the literary magazine Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts, and the author of four volumes of poetry, including Crazy Love, the award-winning Finding Peaches in the Desert, and the Pulitzer Prize–nominated Scattered Risks. She lives in Durango, Colorado.
“Every syllable of Blood Flower’s warm and revelatory tapestry pulses with discovery—the unearthing of familial ties, the realization of strengths and frailties, the speaking of secrets out loud. The life story that springs from these lines is ultimately undaunted—but the real lessons lie in the journey.” —Patricia Smith, author, Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah
“Dense with the colors of ancestral Russia and the American Southwest, the passionate, mindful poems in Blood Flower oppose to loss and sorrow and the multitudinous depredations of history their meticulous tribute to the tangible world of nature and human love. To the unspeakable wreckage of war and the irreparable harm it visits upon father, brother, husband, these poems oppose a hard-won vision of healing and renewal. Even Chernobyl, abandoned by the species that poisoned it, has spawned new herds of buffalo. Divested of illusion and euphemism, these poems have no time for easy pessimism either. They are tribute to the world we must refuse to abandon.” —Linda Gregerson, author, The Selvage
“Pamela Uschuk charges into our lives in a variety of forms that explore her background and its larger cultural implications for our world. If on the one hand she can find hope and solace in that past, however mysterious and half hidden, she is also aware of ‘what breathes between the dawn death of stars’ and leads us ‘into black holes of longing.’ Most poets would stop there, but Uschuk charges against that bleakness the way ‘Defying extinction, cranes snap up blue crabs / in their anthracite beaks, then / roost in branches heaving reflected light.’ It is that reflected light in this, her best book, that gives us faith to charge along with her." —Richard Jackson, author, Heartwall and Out of Place
"Pamela Uschuk’s new collection, Blood Flower, published by Wings Press, is a reflective meditation filled with deliciously strong narratives that carry themselves from poem to poem. The sturdy and gentle presence of the speaker anchors me in this bounty of luminous words." —Lisa M. Cole, moonglows-reviews.blogspot.com
"American Book Award–winner Uschuk’s new collection of meditative, delectably powerful poems offers a steady and generous solace that serves as a platform for thought-provoking glimpses into spirit, family, and feeling. She has written of a tethered reality, commonplace secrets, and emotional rescue. And she is political. Among the more than 40 poems, “Red Menace” and “Black Swan” are standouts. In the same vein as her contemporaries Patricia Smith and Joy Harjo, Uschuk is strong in metaphor, urgent in language, and powerful in vivisection." —Mark Elveld, booklistonline.com
"Pamela Uschuk's 45 poems [are] laced with powerful lines. Vividly conscious of war, which she knows from loved ones — since brother, first husband, and father were in different ways victims of endless tragedies . . . . The opening section of growing up as a Russian in middle America rings true with other stories of prejudice against immigrants. Uschuk includes two pitch-perfect takes on classical music." —Roberto Bonazzi, San Antonio Express-News
"Nuanced with Russia and the American Southwest, Uschuk’s poetry sings songs of family life, the cost of war and oppression, along with one’s quest for personal identity. With the hand of an artist and an ear for the musicality of words, Pamela Uschuk’s Blood Flower captures the heart and awakens the soul with its unbound poetry." —Wanda Pothier-Hill, gravelmag.com
"Most readers of poetry would forgive you for claiming there are too many great poets to have read every one. But after reading Blood Flower, you may not forgive yourself for not knowing the name Pamela Uschuk sooner. Blood Flower is Uschuk’s seventh collection and second since winning the 2010 American Book Award for Crazy Love. Blood Flower is a remarkable collection of poems that not only demonstrates Uschuk’s prowess as a poet, but also conveys important socio-cultural messages. If you are a reader of poetry, this book should be in your collection." —Matthew W. Larrimore, Four Ties Literary Magazine
"Blood Flower is a remarkable collection of poems that not only demonstrates Uschuk’s prowess as a poet, but also conveys important socio-cultural messages. If you are a reader of poetry, this book should be in your collection." —Matthew W Larrimore, fourtieslitreview.com
"One of Blood Flower’s greatest achievements is Uschuk’s willingness to not separate the past from the present, to insist that what happened when she was four stayed in the wires of her life, which become the amped volts in these poems, which together tell a story of taking care of herself, and also her commitment to people taking care of people and poetry’s place in the history of witness and action. The highest praise I can give a poem or a book of them is, yes, that I will read and want to write, but even more when a collection infiltrates my thinking and I begin to recollect myself because the collection is living in my conscious and subconscious, asking me to see myself and the world in the way it does." —Christian Anton Gerard, therumpus.net