D A V I D M O O L T E N
About Primitive Mood:
"The poems on the page are powerful and substantial, extremely elegant...The poet's view is exact, casting hope on so much immediate darkness of the world...There is a strong preoccupation here on behalf of the damaged, the displaced, the hurt . . . and it works on the reader's psyche, rendering many of these poems quite memorable. Hauntingly beautiful, I would be brave enough to call this collection. Just the right potent mixture of reality and modern day fable . . . quite enchanting, mesmeric . . . I am thrilled that such poetry exists and it is being written by such capable hands."
—Virgil Suárez, Judge, T.S. Eliot Prize, Truman State University Press, 2009
Taking the dark landscape of our human history as background, David Moolten in his powerful and finely wrought collection, explores the primitive urges that set us against each other, and the cultural heritage—fairy tales, oral histories, legends, narratives—that seems a testament to the cruelties we are capable of. If our “primitive mood” in life is grief, it comes from our all too ruthless acquaintance with wreckage and violence, sometimes through large apocalypses, other times through personal devastations. And any salvation for us lies in our notions of tolerance and restraint, and perhaps in our abiding belief in an indefinable spirit that “bears us / Up and onwards in spite of ourselves.” These are unflinching, brooding poems of great scope and understanding.
—Gregory Djanikian, author of So I Will Till the Ground
About Plums & Ashes:
“One trusts this writing because, though far from being unmoved by what it sees, it is dispassionate and steady in its gaze, always true to the materials it interprets. This is as much so of the poems in which the speaker is studying himself, his own emotions, as it is of the poems studying our history…This is a true book by a true writer.”
“Moolten’s language is deceptively simple but run through with a shining filament of metaphor. I don’t mean that the poems are straitjacketed into conventional extended metaphor, but rather that the figures created are touched into life as a candle touches dark wicks into brightness, fading, then flaring anew. There is almost a fugal quality in the working of metaphor here, the pattern of changing recurrence…these are poems that ignite and go on burning.”
About Especially Then:
"In Especially Then David Moolten discovers his poetry in the ordinary, often painful, texture of childhood, adolescence, love, and marriage. Each memory becomes a small story-like poem that looks simple and straightforward at first, until suddenly the poem reveals its hidden truth. A sense of existential loss pervades... But Moolten’s melancholy is sweet, rather than bitter; energized, rather than depleted; and cumulatively powerful"