|BROADSTONE BOOKS announces
|Publication Date: February 1, 2018
Paperback, 80 pages
Booksellers: Available from
Small Press Distribution
Richard Carr grew up in Blue Earth,
Minnesota, and now lives in Minneapolis.
His writing has appeared in Poetry East, Exquisite
Corpse, New Letters, Painted Bride Quarterly,
and many other journals.
His chapbooks include Our Blue Earth (Texas
Review Press), Butterfly and Nothingness (a
poetry hypertext published by Mudlark), and
Letters from North Prospect (winner of the
Frank Cat Press Poetry Chapbook Award).
His full-length poetry collections are Fitzpatrick
(Broadstone Books), Grave Reading (Unsolicited
Press), Lucifer (Logan House Press), Dead Wendy
(FutureCycle Press), Imperfect Prayers (Steel Toe
Books), One Sleeve (Evening Street Press), Ace
(Word Works Books), Honey (Gival Press), Street
Portraits (Backwaters Press), and Mister Martini
(University of North Texas Press).
Through the eyes of those who know him best—his bartender, his “bastard” drinking
buddy, and his wife—and through his paintings, we are introduced (though never first
hand) to the title character, the artist Fitzpatrick. With an astonishing efficiency in
these brief narrative poetic sketches (and perhaps a new genre of "imaginary
ekphrasis" in the descriptions of Fitzpatrick's paintings), Richard Carr has created a
fully realized and larger than life personality, with his iron tank of a belly, drinking
whiskey like a common man but happy if he painted, the real thing who with a breath
could blow the lights of a great city...into darkness in his passing. In these poems,
Fitzpatrick takes his place alongside the great artists conjured out of literary
imagination (Joyce Cary's Gully Jimson and Iris Murcoch's Otto Narraway come to
mind, among a host of others). The barroom setting of many of these poems recalls as
well the many real artists who have debated art and life into the night and day again
in cafés and taverns (the urban subjects of Fitzpatrick's paintings suggest he would
have been at home in turbulent postwar bohemian New York).
Most importantly, by framing his subject the way he does, Carr raises a crucial
question: What evidence is there of our existence, except through the impressions
we leave on others, and the work we leave behind?
It's a heavy question, one deserving a beer while we contemplate it. Come in, have a
seat at the bar, and meet a character you will not soon forget.
Praise for Fitzpatrick:
In Richard Carr’s newest collection of poetry, Fitzpatrick, Joyce’s Bloom—
reincarnated as a painter for whom light has 'crashed through the windows'—is
presented, for our amusement and, perhaps, our edification, through the lens of his
bartender, his "bastard" of a drinking buddy, his wife, and, most clearly perhaps, his
paintings themselves. Fitzpatrick is an elaborate poetic shell game, the aim of the
search being the mystery and nature of art.
—George Looney, author of Meditations Before the Windows Fail
Fitzpatrick is full of characters readers might swear they know by name: the
bartender, the bastard friend, the wife. They circle the man described as "godlike,
flawed…a shadow in the lives of those who loved him." Fitzpatrick himself speaks
only through the work he’s created. "We have no need of candles," says Boy with a
Candle. "The eyes are not the gatherers of light." In Fitzpatrick’s work, as in Carr’s,
"Light enters from the front, from the viewer," a strategy which leaves us to paint
our own conclusions. I love this of Richard Carr’s work, that we are guided through
stories we already know, pushed gently down the hall of a somehow shared
—Paula J. Lambert, author of The Ecstasy of Wanting &
The Sudden Seduction of Gravity
|Cover photography used by permission.
Book designed by Larry W. Moore
farmyards of southern Minnesota, while dabbling also in house painting, cabinet
making, ice rink grooming, and, one summer, filling sunken graves in a cemetery. As
a teenager, he wanted to be a concert pianist. His cat’s name is “Fur” Elise, and his
goldfish are called Aria and Goldberg. In college, he majored in philosophy. At one
time, he could recite a hundred digits of pi. He once hitchhiked to California. His car
is a Jaguar.† He's been in three motorcycle crashes. None fatal.