About Sympathetic Beasts
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.
About Mr. Jacob
Mr. Jacob is also 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.
Mr. Jacob recently launched Sympathetic Beasts
at the Associated Writing Programs conference in Seattle. A virtual book launch party will be hosted by Next Page Press
in honor of National Poetry Month on April 12, at 5 p.m. PDT.
Sneak Peek at the Collection:
Not Going to the Beach
Where a woman with a salt-spray voice
might have joined you leaning at the rail
along the boardwalk, asking for a glance
by asking your opinion on the weather
you were sharing.
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
drawn by teenage lovers at the tide line.
She'd have met your voice, foreign even
to you in the breeze, with a careless laugh
of invitation. The nerve of her, filling
of a trip you did not take, standing
in a brightness your face never felt,
casting a shadow that, not being there,
could not reach out toward your own, laughing
not to be heard, except
in your sun-starved mind.
–Originally appeared in the Texas Poetry Calendar, 2022
The way he looked at you.
Said, what are you
busy about, buzzing
through these halls,
causing no end
of shaking along the walls?
Said, here’s a heavy load—
has to be halved
somehow, some way, so
how’s about it? His half
here, hers there.
Said, shouldn’t shake
just to see a man
shoulder the shaggy
burden he shares
only with himself.
Said, there’s no thing
standing so thick
in this world
can’t cut through it.
—Originally appeared in Rockvale Review