Like “sunlight stroking the birds’ throats so it comes out as song,” Ann Fisher-Wirth’s graceful and sturdy lines unsettle the seemingly familiar. A writer of moral gravity, her distilled attentiveness presses against our all-too-common ambivalence and detachment from the ordinary world. Whether set in Mississippi, California, the Ozarks, or France, the poems in The Bones of Winter Birdsexhibit an abundance of compassion and civility. As Fisher-Wirth praises, laments, lets go, language salvages what might otherwise be missed. It’s with attentiveness and emotional poise that these poems lay everything bare. Despite fear and everyday darkness, “I think we are provided for” she reminds us, a consolation for which I am grateful. This is a beautiful book.
Ann Fisher-Wirth is the author of five previous collections of poetry. Her fifth book, Mississippi, is a poetry/photography collaboration with Maude Schuyler Clay (Wings Press 2018). With Laura-Gray Street, she co-edited The Ecopoetry Anthology (Trinity UP, 2013). Her work appears in such journals as Prairie Schooner, diode, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Her awards include two Mississippi Arts Commission fellowships and the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Poetry Award. She was also awarded a 1994-1995 Fulbright to Fribourg, Switzerland, and was 2002-2003 Fulbright Distinguished Chair of American Studies at Uppsala, Sweden. She has had residencies at Djerassi, Hedgebrook, Mesa Refuge, and CAMAC in France, and was the 2017 Anne Spencer Poet in Residence at Randolph College. A senior Black Earth Institute fellow and member of the board, she teaches and directs the Environmental Studies minor at the University of Mississippi, and also teaches yoga in Oxford, Mississippi.