Scavenger Loop


David Baker (Author, Denison University)

Overview | Formats

“[The] language . . . feels almost ancient solely by the skill with which Baker uses it.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

In this masterful new work by “the most moving and expansive poet to come out of the American Midwest since James Wright” (Marilyn Hacker), David Baker constructs a layered natural history of his beloved Midwest and traces the complex story of human habitation from family and village life to the evolving nature of work and the mysterious habitats of the heart.

At the center of Scavenger Loop is a sustained investigation of cycles and the natural recycling of things, and a discovery that even out of the discarded and the lost may come rebirth and renewal. In the process Baker reveals how everything bears the potential to be both invasive and life-giving: plants that beautify and conquer, chemicals that heal and destroy, words that mislead and instruct.

Widely praised for his “impeccable formalism” (Booklist), Baker pushes to new stylistic methods, moving fluidly between unity and disorder, working at times in sustained narratives and intricate syllabics, at other times in fragments, cross-outs, and erasures. These poems praise and sing but are also clear-eyed in their documentation of destruction, the loss of human livelihood and natural habitat, the spreading threat of agri-business and unchecked development. From eco-poetics to the erotic, Scavenger Loop measures the dimensions of the pastoral and the elegy in contemporary lyric poetry.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • November 2016
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35347-1
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 112 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverScavenger Loop: Poems


Endorsements & Reviews

“This is a towering poetic consciousness.” — Carol Muske-Dukes, Huffington Post

“I can’t think of a recent book of poetry so capable of moving so easily and effectively between the mind and heart of the experience.” — Stanley Plumly, Harriet

“This is David Baker’s finest book: combinations of poise and grit, sensitivity and impact, enlivened with an astute control of language. In ‘Scavenger Loop,’ the focal poem and Baker’s masterpiece, we encounter the poetically immaculate. This poem is a true pastoral elegy out of which a new beauty comes—the beauty of resistance, of saying enough is enough. We have an obligation to utter this, and Baker has.” — John Kinsella

“The breadth of Scavenger Loop is immense, encompassing nature’s foment, the unbiodegradeable stuff of culture, and language itself. Somber yet savvy, elegant yet casual, Scavenger Loop is a book of becoming, a lost and found with a radius wide as consciousness itself. Reading it is like being inside the shifts of a capacious, roiling mind and, like all great poetry, it keeps unfolding with uneasy, surreptitious grace.” — Alice Fulton

Also by David Baker All

  1. Book CoverMidwest Eclogue: Poems


  2. Book CoverNever-Ending Birds: Poems


  3. Book CoverSwift: New and Selected Poems


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