In The Year of Our Making & Unmaking
Winner of the 2020 Frontier Digital Chapbook Contest
Read the chapbook for free here.
We are thrilled for you to read the third entry in our chapbook series. As we've said before: the mission of the chapbook contest has never been to produce a collection that would need to turn a profit, but simply to identify the strongest work by an emerging poet that we could champion in its publication as a free digital chapbook.
Frederick Speer's IN THE YEAR OF OUR MAKING & UNMAKING invites the reader into an experience as wide, and as mystical, as the blue sky. The search for love, for the lover, for the self, for friends—the book makes what is universal incredibly individual and incredibly compelling, like all good mystic expression, and does so through a unique and innovative form that challenges the reader to stop, ponder, and discover its unique rhythm. There’s thunder, there’s the sweet relief of gentle rain, there’s the Good making faces in the clouds. For a book inspired by the calendar of a year, ITYOOM&U expresses a deep urge to create its own structure, its own intuitive sense of time, and inspires in readers just the same sweet realization of how to MAKE a life: “if it is to mean / anything in the thrilling / dark, it must be, / my friends, / that this desire, / unloosed, will be, / you, you...”
ABOUT the AUTHOR
Frederick Speers (he/him) is the author of So Far Afield (Nomadic Press), a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI (Online); Crab Creek Review, winner of the 2020 poetry contest, selected by Keetje Kuiper; Diode Poetry Journal; Forklift, Ohio; Impossible Archetype; Ofi Press Magazine; Tahoma Literary Review; Portland Review; The Straddler; Salamander Magazine; and Santa Fe Writers Project Quarterly. He lives outside Denver, Colorado with his husband and their three dogs.
“Cast as a contemporary breviary, a book of months and hours, In the Year of Our Making & Unmaking takes the measure of a life made more urgent by the mortality that looms close to and over it. The urgency seems to generate a new form on the page, which makes the reading process an especially athletic one, as the words move “up and down the quiet median” of the line itself, suggestive both of how precarious any life can be, and how quickly we slip in and out of health and illness, yes, but also how easily sex moves in and out of
between “the notes &the
And yet there remains a sturdy generosity throughout. Here, says the poet, Take
offering it as a gift to the reader, for
“others to lift enough in time”
up, high & freely
Life is nothing if not uncertain. The poems here reflect that, and make of uncertainty a new song."
— Carl Phillips, 2020 Chapbook Judge
“A spartan prosody resembling the brief notations on a calendar forms the foundation of this suite of poems composed inside enormous silences: flowers isolated in fields, the bare spots around them saying so much about living, thriving, surviving: ‘knowing/ better—// & yet,/ every day,// daring to/ step outside’.” –D. A. Powell
— D.A. Powell
"Even more resonant upon a year of immutable losses, In the Year of Our Making & Unmaking is a meditation on the limits of the human body: the distance between us—void of human contact, in a field of buildings—where only the sea is heard ‘echoing the sky.’ It is in the natural world that we find solace, in the company of ‘the wildflowers/ with their different, if somewhat repetitive play/ up & down the quiet median.’ Another day in quarantine, now made clearer by the absence of human interaction, where the memory of each other makes the next moment possible. Speers perceives a world that is dark yet made meaningful through memory."
— Ruben Quesada