Sympathetic Beasts by Lucas Jacob
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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.
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–Lauren Berry, winner of the National Poetry Series and C&R Press Award
Lucas Jacob has staked out a territory between prose and poetry that is all his own. His poems are often sly narratives, as in the beautiful “Not Going to the Beach”:
Her long skirt pressed to her thighs by the wind
as if by immersion in your thoughts
of the water you both watched tugging,
in retreat, at seaweed and the edges
of misshapen hearts . . .
The language, especially in the 12-part prose poem “The Theory of Deccan Volcanism,” tugs constantly at the poetic. Lucas Jacob proves himself a masterful poet and storyteller. Read this book. You'll be thoroughly rewarded.
—Toby Olson, PEN/Faulkner Award winner
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 Quintanilla, Poet Laureate of San Antonio (2018-2020)
Lucas Jacob is the author of the 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 literary magazines including Southwest Review, Indianapolis Review, and RHINO and in trade journals including Education Week, Independent Teacher, and the Journal of Media Literacy. His career in K-12 education has brought him many wonderful things, including the honor of serving as a Fulbright Fellow in Budapest, Hungary. He is currently the Director of Writing, Communication, and Media Literacy at La Jolla Country Day School, in San Diego.