Searching for the forms that best fit our lives, Lifting the Turtle explores the idea of community, how we might find it—in places, people and poetry—but also how it can damage and ostracize. In verse humane and honed, J.D. Scrimgeour balances the tension between our sense of being the outsider looking in and our desire for connection.
“Situating himself in relation to the poets he most admires, and to his parents, children, students, and community, J. D. Scrimgeour restores, in poem after poem, the taste and power of experience, too often weakened by inattention and fatigue. This is our life he’s writing about, and in these exquisite poems it is by turns recognizable and strange. The astonishing monologues of the second section of the book are utterly convincing, each conveying its speaker’s world as thoroughly as a novel, and the book’s final sequence, ‘The Baby,’ seems to me nothing short of a masterpiece. This is a book to savor, a poet to celebrate.” —Richard Hoffman
“J.D. Scrimgeour packs a life into a single piece of poetry, disrupting the form and enlarging its wisdom. A book to keep beside you during this moment of intensified doubt and humanity.” —Michelle Tea
“The poems in J.D. Scrimgeour’s new collection display a remarkable range of subject matter, style, and tone— personal lyrics that can be serious and breezy at once, more political poems that take on the weight of history, long multi-character narratives, and monologues in the voices of others that transcend mere ventriloquism to become acts of empathy. ‘I do not love words, but I consider them friends,’ Scrimgeour writes. He treats them like friends, with care and respect (along with the occasional teasing remark), and the poems that result, like friends, earn our trust and sympathy.” —Jeffrey Harrison