In the Hands of the River

In the Hands of the River

by: Lucien Darjeun Meadows
Release date: Sep 13th, 2022

In these haunting, layered poems, Lucien Darjeun Meadows affirms the interconnection of human and environmental identity. Read More

Softcover - $16.00
(ISBN: 978-1-938235-99-3)

“What can we do but seek nectar where it blooms,” whispers the porous and questioning speaker of In the Hands of the River. In these haunting, layered poems, Lucien Darjeun Meadows affirms the interconnection of human and environmental identity. With delicate precision, In the Hands of the River subverts traditional poetic forms to show how a childhood for a queer boy of both Cherokee and European heritage happens within and outside dominant narratives of Appalachia.

This debut collection weaves ancestral and personal threads of trauma, reclamation, and survival into a multi-generational and multi-species tapestry that reaches from the distant stars visible in an Appalachian holler to the curl of a clover stem and the touch of the beloved, here and now. Moving across time, yet always grounded in place, these poems address the West Virginian landscape, both in exaltation and extraction, balanced with poems about the speaker's own body, and emergent sense of queer identity, as “a boy made of shards.”

Praise for In the Hands of the River

"In his beautiful collection, In the Hands of the River, Lucien Darjeun Meadows examines the wildness and the wilderness of an Appalachian childhood. Here, landscape is ever-present and constantly on the cusp of change—mountains become scars, insect examinations become executions, and homes are one rain away from gone. His loosened sonnets grow in the woods rather than the garden and strain against the tamed version of the form. His stanza stagger away from the edge with a third that brings us and all our songs to the river." —Traci Brimhall, author of Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod
"In the Hands of the River is a stunning and harrowing debut collection. With exquisite attention, Lucien Darjeun Meadows draws us deeply into an Appalachian landscape where 'mountains rub their shoulders blue / With horizon and a father's scent is an 'open parenthesis of ginseng and smoke.' These poems are so vivid and unflinching, and so richly intertwined with the elements. I felt the title's promise at every turn: held by the river of Meadows' language, carried into music and truth, carving a way toward 'the thrill of light.'" —Chloe Honum, author of The Lantern Room
"Nestled in the hollers of Appalachia, Lucien Darjeun Meadows’ poems serve both as an ode and an elegy to the place of his upbringing. The poems of In the Hands of the River center on the body through which this landscape—and the stories of those who inhabit it—passes through. I admire this book for its unflinching, aching look at the intersection of queerness and Appalachia, for its complicated portrait of an absent father and a son’s self-demolition, for its attention to the beauty tucked within brutality. In the Hands of the River is an important, stunning debut." —Jacques J. Rancourt, author of Brocken Spectre


Lucien Darjeun Meadows

Lucien Darjeun Meadows

Lucien Darjeun Meadows is an English, German, and Cherokee writer born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains of what is now sometimes called Virginia and West Virginia. Lucien has received fellowships and awards from the Academy of American Poets, American Alliance of Museums, Bread Loaf Conferences, National Association for Interpretation, and University of Denver. His work has been widely published, including features in Appalachian Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Ecotone, Narrative, New England Review, Pleiades, Poetry Daily, and West Branch.

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