Pavement Saw Chapbook Series
34 pages, 5.5 by 8.5, offset, 1998
This is Naton Leslie's first collection. Since this was published three full length volumes of poetry have appeared: Moving to Find Work (Bottom Dog Press), Salvage Maxims (Word Press), and Egress (David Roberts Books) . Also a collection of short stories, Marconi's Dream and Other Stories (Texas Review Press), which won the George Garrett Fiction Prize and a book of non-fiction That Might Be Useful: Exploring America's Secondhand Culture was published by The Lyons Press. In 2000 he was awarded a grant from the New York State Council for the Arts through the Saratoga County Arts Council, and in 1993 he received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for poetry.
Their Shadows Are Dark Daughters is an extremely powerful sequence. There is a timelessness found here like the timelessness of their subject--stone circles. These poems, like those circles, will endure. These carefully crafted pieces explore the mysteries of the circles--they embrace mystery like the best poems do. The words in these poems contain the same delicate magic of stones standing on point.
Naton Leslie rightly knows that stones are eloquent. His perambulations, on foot and in mind, from the fields and hills of Ohio to the Celtic fringes of Europe become a passionate quest to hear the ancient voices of stones. Narrative and meditative, richly allusive and plain-spoken, he imaginatively brings alive the earliest and most mysterious of human artifacts, the standing stones and stone circles of pre-history. We should be grateful to him for undertaking such a unique mission which is then rendered with such grace and humility.
Naton Leslie makes stone speak. He has cut his poems from the imagination as the monoliths he writes of were cut from stone. Dark Daughters honors the durable--the spirit that sent these neolithic strangers through the ages to us and our own enduring ties to the mysterious forces that carved and raised those stones. We listen and wonder.