In a news cycle where horrors have become the mundane, it’s easy to forget the fantastic things: an incident where meat falls from the sky, or a chicken who lives months past its own beheading. So Spinning the Vast Fantastic zeroes in on specific wonders. From the rolling hills of Kentucky, Britton Shurley sends a love letter to the small things—a stroll through the pasture, a night at the whiskey bar—and invites us back to our own bizarre imaginations.
“Britton Shurley has written a hymn-book of abundance where what can be lost forever is celebrated for being at all. It is an aviary ‘of songbirds/in spires of pines’ where our children ‘hold spells in their bones.’ It’s the old magic ‘of something spun from nothing’ that galvanizes and makes this collection like the light after a storm—luminous and otherworldly. What a gorgeous lucky thing.” —Steve Scafidi
“These poems clearly convey the recognition of a broken and damaged world, but they also register a stay against that state, namely, through gardening and family and history, contact with the eternal earth, and therefore, all things eternal, the land and the human need to belong, by assuming the role of caretaker of this passage. And that connection with the earth replays itself with connection to the joys of family and the wider human experience. We have a cycle and circle that keep turning, and we must find our place on the wheel. The poems in this fine collection recognize this important duty to be human and let it stand.” —Maurice Manning
“Spinning the Vast Fantastic is a book as good as its title. Britton Shurley often sits on his porch marveling at a world we don’t look at long enough, hard enough, or with as much joy in our hearts or wild humor at our fingertips. This is the irrepressible poetry of spring, when it’s ‘not hard to be a glutton./ When you’re out before noon in June/in a west Kentucky field/bursting with dusky berries.’ When the sky is ‘Clear and clean as the o in wonder’, ‘what we dream of all winter,/ why we do what bees/do to blossoms.’ If you’re looking for a way to see the blossoming world anew, for a book that will return you to your original awe and remind you why you’re alive, this is the spinning vastness of that, and it’s fantastic!” —Dorianne Laux