About Books: Summer 2019
Gomez, Czelsi

About Books: Summer 2019


Ragged Anthem

By Chris Dombrowski

Poet, author and fishing guide Chris Dombrowski’s new collection displays the same inimitable voice and unflinching gaze that made him a Poetry Foundation bestseller and silver medal winner of Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year Award in poetry.

As in his previous books, Ragged Anthem authentically evokes the natural world. Written from the speaker’s midlife, the poems delve into the transformation of family, childhood tragedies and politics. Dombrowski also lifts the veil on imbecilic bureaucracies – those on Capitol Hill and in faculty meetings  – that often help shape our fates.

His “borrowings” – allusions to such figures as American painter Mark Rothko and Saint Francis of Assisi, and language from song lyrics – evoke the original source while transforming it into something new.

Fellow poet Kevin Goodan says the book is like “staring at the sun and then looking away. Whatever is seen next is informed and haunted by that light. Dombrowski’s poems are that clear, that powerful.”

Dombrowski is the author of two previous books of poetry, By Cold Water and Earth Again. His essays and poems have appeared in over 100 publications and his nonfiction debut, Body of Water: A Sage, A Seeker, and the World’s Most Alluring Fish, was praised by The New York Times and received a starred review in Publishers Weekly.

The author lives in Missoula where he works as a fly-fishing guide and directs the Beargrass Writing Retreat.



By Molly Damm       

Bozeman poet Molly Damm’s first collection offers a field guide for anyone who feels “the loneliness of being tethered/ here on earth, our island home.”

The Bozeman Chronicle notes that Damm’s book “speaks to her love of maps, with cartography references peppered throughout and a title referencing the relationship between our outer and inner worlds.” 

Ground truth, in scientific terms, refers to information collected on location, as opposed to information gathered from afar. True to the title, “each poem is a signal fire, the poet’s imagination soaring where the grounded body cannot go,” writes Lisa Russ Spaar, author of Orexia.

The author, a native of Detroit, attended the environmental studies program at the University of Montana before veering toward poetry. She earned an MFA from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow in Poetry, and secured a second master’s from Montana State University in marriage and family counseling. Her writing has appeared in Colorado Review, Drunken Boat, The Collagist, Sou’wester, and Western Humanities Review, among others.

Paul Guest, author of Because Everything is Terrible, praises Ground-truth for its “ravishing physicality” and “indelible” images that “burn in the light of the precisely seen and the deeply felt.”


By Robert Lee

Missoula writer Robert Lee’s first complete collection of poetry was released by Foothills Press.

“Robert Lee’s poems take us into intimacy between friends, between lovers, between life’s sweetness and unavoidable loss,” writes Jennifer Finley. “This collection of poems bravely faces the impermanence we all breathe together, ‘until/ one by one/ the ones I know and need/ stop breathing.’”

Lee is the author of Guiding Elliott, published in 1997 by Lyons Press and reissued in paper back by Mountain Press in 2013. His poetry chapbook, Black Bear Holds a Hole in His Paws, was inspired by three autumns spent as writer in residence in Hydaburg, Alaska for the Missoula Writing Collaborative, which he has taught with for nearly 20 years. His work has appeared in the anthologies New Montana Stories and Poems Across the Big Sky I & II, Montana Magazine, and in numerous literary journals.

“Elegiac, death defying, hard earned truth in this collection,” writes former Montana Poet Laureate Sheryl Noethe. “All along, a wit as dry as ice: The force of his language comes up behind you and you jump, and you’re glad you did, and feel the better for it.”




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