Meet New Mexico poet Gary Worth Moody, a falconer, who lives in Santa Fe with the artist and writer Oriana Rodman, three dogs and a red-tailed hawk. Gary’s worked as a grain elevator pit-man, forest-fire fighter, cowboy, teamster driving clydesdales, apprentice farrier, horse trainer, logger, CAT operator, form carpenter and construction project manager. He spent a year in Siberia in 1993 building a town for coal-miners. He is the founder of the 1980s Lost River Poetry Workshops and the past recipient of the Austin Poetry Prize, the Mary Roberts Rinehart Poetry Prize and the Virginia Downs Poetry Award.
Of Gary Worth Moody’s new book, HAZARDS OF GRACE, Stephen Bodio writes:
In a time when so much poetry is weak tea, as minimalist as haiku but without that compressed density, [Moody’s] comes on like a rare, old bourbon, rich and complex and burning like fire. Its view of the mortality of everything is unflinching and sometimes startling, even as it celebrates life in its infinite varieties. HAZARDS OF GRACE is the most original poetic debut I have read in years.”
Here’s a sample of Gary Worth Moody’s poetry, with its signature attention to detail and rich musicality of its language. “Solace” is from his new book, HAZARDS OF GRACE.
After last night’s late autumn lightning and bars of rain
hewn to prismed spines of feathered ice,
two dogs and I crest a red cindered rise.
Thin twined shadows of their leashes tighten, release,
then tighten again. We descend
through frosted chamisa, cholla and buffalo
grass into an arroyo’s storm washed sand. Everywhere
gleam shards of quartz and flint.
The earth’s iced rind holds a cuneiform of tracks, nascent scents,
signs of predawn human and animal migrations.
Each draws the dogs’ noses,
and my eyes, to November’s first killing frost’s radiant skin.
Beyond juniper shadow, I note where a hare swerved
from under the cold of a Red-tail’s wing.
Here a coyote’s acid breath warmed a struggling vole.
The only hint of solace, a withered condom of liquid moon,
shielded beneath a tarp’s ragged scrim,
nests in a vacant imprint of two bodies that made love in cold rain.
Now, in wind-shorn embrace of a distant piñon snag,
the frantic beak of a cooper’s hawk tears
hearts, quill and breath from the ravaged husk of a mourning dove.
The hawk’s eye and the scaled eye of the dove each mock
the frailty of our leashed trespass
into wilderness. I bend through my own breath’s fog,
unclasp each leash, watch my shadow uncurl as, under echoed
cry of ascending hawk, the dogs run, and I,
facing unbroken sun, with upslope wind, begin the solitary walk back home.
Gary Worth Moody
From HAZARDS OF GRACE (Red Mountain Press, 2012)