These odes emerge from three places on Turtle Island—the Palouse, the Edge between the Great Plains & the Rocky Mountains, and the Great Lakes region.
The counterpart to ode is elegy. Some poems foreground lament, and when they do, I aim to intensify the journey of the ode—its fragility and yet resolve as we seek better ways to live on this shared planet.
—Aaron M. Moe, from his note in exhalations.
"Celebration as invitation: it’s a pattern that recurs throughout exhalations, as when the speaker in “first light” celebrates his infant daughter’s first time to hear:
of morning birds
the rocking chair’s
Through such intimate celebrations, Aaron M. Moe invites the reader also to register, above the creaking of our machines, a more ultimate singing."
—H. L. Hix
Aaron M. Moe's amazingly kinetic collection, exhalations, gleaned from moments and trail runs over the last decade, resonates both in a timely and eternal manner. The forms of his poems are a nod to the flowing of all things; time, form and formlessness, murmurations, as everything in the eternal flux of transformation moves "towards the eons" as the reader and the subjects of his poetry "stand at the edge of the blue-black lake." Here, before our eyes, in moments between moments, the beauty of deep time takes elements (carbon, oxygen, soil nutriment, pre-dawn lavender clouds, icicles, songbirds, snakeskin, coyote fur, red pollen, meadowlarks, lichen) and transforms them into the sensory beauty of the world we live in and love. Aging, the cycles of family, parenting, society and history are nestled in lines about trees transforming elements of gasses and nutriment into a sweet, vanilla scents to us, and reminding us the beauty comes of all things. A beauty whose demise is mourned as we see the forms disappearing in this anthropocene age of extinction, destruction and degradation. But the knowledge that we have time, that our voices speak to the beauty and fragility of the transformations, and that "our exhalations cling", cling to an earth we see slowly becoming not the earth we had hoped to cradle, but nonetheless, one where "This soil is still good/ if there are worms in it"
—David Anthony Martin, Founding Editor of Middle Creek Publishing,
author of The Ground Nest, Bijoux, Deepening the Map, and Span.
Aaron M. Moe (PhD, Washington State University) is the author of two scholarly books—Ecocriticism and the Poiesis of Form: Holding on to Proteus (2019) and Zoopoetics: Animals and the Making of Poetry (2014)—as well as several chapters and articles on ecopoetics / zoopoetics. In 2015, he published a leaflet of aphorisms, Protean Poetics. His creative work can also be found in Counterclaims: Poets and Poetries, Talking Back (2020) and is forthcoming in the projects The Mountain: An Anthology of Mountain Poems and The Despairimentalist Manifesto. His family lives in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies where they hike, climb, run trails, and write.