Publication Date:  June 28, 2016
Paperback, 72 pages
ISBN:  978-1-937968-24-3
Booksellers:  Available from
Small Press Distribution
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 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
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

"In his fifth full-length collection...William Reichard uses grounded, meditative
language to layer details of places and people onto the page.... This collection takes
the reader on a quiet and reflective ride. In addition to descriptions of countryside
landscapes and intricate portraits of townsfolk and family members, Reichard also
intersperses his experience of gay life and love throughout the book.... Reichard's
steady, solemn tone and attention to detail carries the reader from poem to poem."

                                                Emily Marie Buehler,
The Corresponder

"Eerie silence pervades much of William Reichard’s Two Men Rowing Madly
Toward Infinity
. Reading this book’s 50ish pages, it’s easy to experience a sense of
dread as startled crows become 'a black cloud against /October’s sharp blue sky' and
“fading dusk turns the snow into stars.' Reichard uses the austereness of the Great
Plains at night to his advantage; here 'all of the folktales /[are] true, [and] all of the
cautionary monsters /stalk the forest that fences in /the freeway.' Yet there’s also an
odd peace to the 'illuminated farmsteads scattered /across the prairie.' The air is
pregnant with something, and that something may not be good, but for the moment,
the silence is enjoyable. Call it Midwestern Gothic."

                                             Charlie Bondhus,
Midwest Poetry Review

"This is a collection of quiet growth and beautiful transitory moments. Reichard is a
silent Adam leading us through the fallen Eden of his past. He is the soft-spoken
conscience of a lost world."
                                                           Walter Holland

To read Walter Holland's full review on the Lambda Literary site,
click here.

Two Men
Rowing Madly
Toward Infinity
and An 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 Winter (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,
American Tensions:
Literature of Identity and the Search
for Social Justice
, was published by
New Village Press in April 2011.