“Each word brings insistence:
the world does stretch on, to the end, in snow.”
– From Route 501 South
Lucas Jacob’s Sympathetic Beasts tunes in to life, to its potential as well as its hazards and warnings, to physical and emotional perils often recognized only too late. At turns intimate, introspective, and darkly humorous, these poems question everyday caution signs even as they lean into vulnerability, grappling with relationships, impermanence, and the many ways the world can end. In this elastic collection, every danger is taken seriously, while no poem takes itself too seriously. There is a smile, or at least a knowing wink, for every foible of the all-too-human speakers in these quietly confident poems.
“Seams at which we pull as if to test their truth.Excerpt From “Things that Can Break” in Sympathetic Beasts
Dawn. News of dawn. A storm at dawn throwing
rain like pebbles at the glass, our knowing
that we alone are belief in need of proof.”
Praise for Sympathetic Beasts
In Sympathetic Beasts, Lucas Jacob pays attention to the world, to its beasts made of theory and memory, to the hollow husks we all become. With word-fire, he kindles the husks so as to hear the soft roar of that which refuses to be forgotten: the ghosts of lost names, “a string / trailing away into darkness,” our own reflection in glass. Hold yourself close to these poems, read them with care, for in them you’ll find “some mimicry” of your beating heart.
Octavio QuintanillaPoet Laureate of San Antonio (2018-2020)
The poems in Sympathetic Beasts inspire us to mind the present, but also to stretch beyond it (and behind it and sideways) and delight in the possibilities of volcanoes, glass slippers, a telescope in a closet, and the “ricochet of a doe back into the woods.” In “The Dancer,” the speaker leads by example when he sits “on the edge of a second-row seat” and marvels not at the theatrical spectacle, but at something more subtle and sacred—“the low cloud of resin/ kicked up” by the delicate foot of a ballerina. This book makes one feel more prepared to cherish the world. Lucas Jacob does exactly what we need our poets to do— to sing to us of wonder.
Lauren BerryWinner of the National Poetry Series
About the Author
Lucas Jacob is the author of the full-length poetry collection The Seed Vault (Eyewear Publishing, 2019) and the chapbooks A Hole in the Light (Anchor & Plume Press, 2015) and Wishes Wished Just Hard Enough (Seven Kitchens Press, 2019). His poetry and prose have appeared in print journals including Southwest Review, Hopkins Review, and RHINO, and online in journals including Valparaiso Poetry Review, Sequestrum, and Jet Fuel Review. He is a high school teacher and writing-instruction consultant whose career has brought him many wonderful things, including the honor of serving as a Fulbright Fellow in Budapest, Hungary.