- Publisher: Whirlybird Press
- ISBN: 978-0-9972541-2-9
- Published: December 1, 2019
A doubting optimist, David Ray writes of wounds that heal by the expression of them into compassion for acts of human behavior, and misbehavior. Like Whitman, whom he acknowledges, he is still looking forward, rather than back, after a lifetime of journeys. His poems are quieter now, but no less piercing. As he writes in “Trimming Cactus,” “There is no way to do it without touching,” or in “Burnt Offerings,” “…my old habit of taking a dip,/as Dante did with Virgil, sure/ that one image could lead him out/of hell. Seldom has it failed me….” Ray’s poems nourish the heart as he writes of triumph over the bread of woe. It is a pleasure to read him again.
—Martin Tucker, editor Confrontation, 1968 – 2010, author Plenty of Exits: New and Selected Poems
Here in Burnt Offerings, we have vintage David Ray – alert and audacious, connected and empathetic, moving among a motley crowd of past figures that fascinate him. Sherman Alexie steps out of one poem’s epigraph to say hello to Walt Whitman in another; Tagore shakes hand with Chekov; Abe Lincoln smiles at Carl Jung. All these characters and their emotive energies are fired up in Ray’s imagination through synchronicity and a desire to propel decency and basic human freedoms for one and all.
—Amritjit Singh, Langston Hughes Professor Emeritus of English and African American Studies, Ohio University