Publication Date:  June 21, 2016
Paperback, 72 pages
ISBN:  978-1-937968-24-3
Booksellers:  Available from
Small Press Distribution
At one point in his poem “The Crows,” an achingly poignant remembrance of his
dying sister, William Reichard observes that

    Silence is the secret language in our family, the long gaps
    between what we can and cannot say.

In the poem that opens this new collection, he also admits to a “learned / willful”
blindness as a coping mechanism for dealing with a world where “things change” –
an urge to evasion so that

    I will never turn into the man
    I don't want to become.

Silence and blindness might seem an unpromising beginning for poetry.  But then
Reichard responds through his masterful juxtaposition in “A Trip Down Market
Street” of flickering silent movie images of a doomed San Francisco with his own
experience of that city as a place of exhilarating possibility even in the face of the
AIDS epidemic:

    I had a sense this might never end
    and that was beautiful enough for me.

The hope inherent in that powerful phrase
might never end propels Reichard through
these poems just as the two men of his title are propelled passionately toward their
unattainable goal.  It is the effort and not the end that matters, and here that effort
takes the form of words and images that answer the silence and the darkness with
the eloquent simplicity of ordinary life.  Including – it must still be said – the
ordinariness of gay love, expressed so perfectly in his poem “Sixteen.”  We have all
been there, just as we have all seen the ghosts of people and places that haunt these
poems, remnants and reminders of a world passing and past.  And still, it is beautiful

Praise for William Reichard's Two Men Rowing Madly Toward Infinity:

The poems in William Reichard's Two Men Rowing Madly Toward Infinity are not
nostalgic, but still they ache keenly for a place and time long gone, ache for the
Midwestern landscape with "no trees anymore—not enough to cut," ache for cattails
and slow tractors, for men lost to the plague of AIDs and a sister who died waiting
far too long for a new set of lungs. Here you'll find mown cornfields and lakes
frozen over with sexual longing and silence—an often-overlooked landscape of this
country (and the heart) made visible with an unflinching awareness. "Everything that
has the will / to bloom," Reichard writes, "is a flower." Here then is his riot, his
spring, his will, fierce and evident on every page.
                                                                                      Nickole Brown

"There's no sound but our breathing, and the paddle as it strokes the water." Accept
the offered craft of William Reichard's transport. Put your oar in with his erotic
lyricism, his mouth to your ears.
Two Men Rowing Madly Toward Infinity is a steady
ride through the wonderous landscape of a Midwestern rural American childhood, a
turn at the bend of Gravelly Run, a pass by Baudelairean gallows, and a final glide to
"listen to the wind in the reeds along the lakeshore, how they lash the air, how they
                                                                                      Scott Hightower

"So the world won’t lose them / I speak the names of those / I love aloud to the
darkness. / Now they are safe."  These lines from William Reichard’s latest book,
Two Men Rowing Madly Toward Infinity, express one of its recurring themes:  the
attempt of the poet to create something that time cannot destroy.  In a book filled
with doubles, doppelgangers, ghosts and echoes, everything that was is always
happening now (or about to happen):  "the atoms of all that’s / been / all that / is, /
all that  / will be / merge in the darkness."  
Two Men Rowing... is the testimony of a
man who, from the very start, admits, "I know things change" and still goes on to
describe the people and places he’s loved in such moving detail that we love them
                                                                                      Joyce Stuphen
Two Men Rowing
Madly Toward

Poetry by
William Reichard
William Reichard is a writer,
editor, and educator living in Saint Paul,
Minnesota.  He is the author of four
previous full-length collections of poetry:
Sin Eater (Mid-List Press, 2010); This
(Mid-List Press, 2007); How
(Mid-List Press, 2004), a finalist for
the James Laughlin Award from the
Academy of American Poets; and
Alchemy in the Bones
(New Rivers Press,
1999), winner of a Minnesota Voices
Prize. Poems from
This Brightness and
How To have been featured on NPR’s
“Writer’s Almanac.” He has published
two chapbooks,
To Be Quietly Spoken
(Frith Press, 2001) and
As Breath in
(MIEL Books, 2015), and edited
The Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s: A Gay
Life in the 1940s
(University of Minnesota
Press, 2001). Reichard's anthology of
fiction, poetry, and nonfiction,
Tensions: Literature of Identity and the
for Social Justice, was published
by New Village Press in April 2011.
Photograph by Doug Baulos