"Luke Johnson cements his title as the uncontested master of shadow... Quiver will change the way you see."
--Patricia Smith, author of Unshuttered: Poems
"Quiver is a rare creation full of song and scar, authenticity and Old Testament mythology, of emotional complexity and witness."
--John Sibley Williams, Scale Model of a Country at Dawn
"The poems [in Quiver] are singing when they are stinging, scalding as they serve up something wildly fresh, slap after exquisite slap."
--Elaine Sexton, author of Drive
"...a work of glorious complexity."
"...the most visceral, haunting book of poems I have read in years."
--Lee Herrick, California Poet Laureate
Quiver is a book of reckoning, a book of ghosts, a book of lineal fracture and generational fatherlesness. It's a visceral guide through boyhood into fatherhood. One that yields witness to trauma, erotic shames, brutalities and toxic masculinity, and in so doing, emerges with a speaker beginning to free himself. Patricia Smith said it best: "Quiver will change the way you see."
Mother couldn't manage
what sated me, so she prayed:
sought in silence
a substance that'd soothe,
something familial with grace.
I groaned. Broke bodies
over blacktop's pane, a bottom-
less well of blood. At seven
I smothered a frog and fed each leg
to my quivering sister
laughed while she choked out its skin. At twelve,
I pulled a pistol from under
the vacant shed and shoved
its shudder to a schoolboy's temple, teased
while he wept in his piss.
And yet all along a Psalm, a satchel
of prayer: song. Mother making
contracts with the sky, while I
tore its pages to light a fire, warm
my hands around it. Radiant blue. Red
from a faraway pine.