Dear, Companion – the first full-length book of poems by A.E. Watkins – was runner-up in the 2011 American Poetry Journal Book Prize and a finalist for the New Issues First Book Prize 2011. It was published by Dream Horse Press in 2012.
For a quick look at poems from this collection, click the following links:
- “Allerton in Winter IV,” featured in the Poetry Society of America series “In Their Own Words.”
- “No Narrative” on Verse Daily
- “Blot” on Verse Daily
Praise for Dear, Companion
“Herein, a poetry that takes its time, forgoing pyrotechnics for a low, slow burn. Other elemental activity’s here as well—the wind flogging the prairie; the mind dirtying itself; a glass of water having its way with a stick. Dear, Companion is a definitive bewilderment, a bountiful catalog of thought and observation and loss. Read it and reap.”— Graham Foust
“John Keats was of the belief that a ‘life of any worth is a continual allegory.’ A.E. Watkins’ debut collection takes on the notion with a lovely seriousness. The brilliance in these poems isn’t simply in their lyric surety—a music so unfailing it turns image melodious—but in using lyric for a purpose often neglected in contemporary poetry. The poems here become a space in which the grain of the personal is held within the furrow of the allegorical, and over the course of a year, we witness the speaker’s identity suffer into symbolic sympathy. That sympathy is erotic and agricultural—that ancient twining—and allows Watkins to invoke the world of Orpheus and Eurydice into his own, all while showing his readers, as a poet must learn to do, the reciprocal consequences of having one’s own life called back into the forgotten one. Well, the forgotten world save only for poems such as these, which refuse to accept the post-modern condition as a separation from our allegorical one. These are poems of wonder and nostalgia, and a reminder that such conditions are not easy, but are instead evidence of the very wound that ‘wondered this world green.'”