Scarecrow Oracle


Poems by Mark L. Anderson

Coming June 4, 2022 from Korrektiv Press


Mark Anderson is the oracle of memory and longing, of hide-a-beds and rusted Chevys. And these poems show him writing with his trademark sense of wonder and humor and place. I really enjoyed this collection.

—Jess Walter, author of The Cold Millions


When you live inside Mark Anderson’s poems, someone a bit like an oracle speaks to you in almost but not-at-all ordinary speech, you give up sleep for most of your life, death crowds close but the poet bravely writes it away, you feel the terror of a crawl space and the patience of a jellyfish with the “body of a half-sealed / Ziplock bag / flushed down the / grime filled gutter, / inexplicably filled / with life / instead of a sandwich,” and you learn “We came to the Earth to have / feelings.”  And you have feelings. It’s an extraordinary place to be.  

— Kathleen Flenniken, author of Post Romantic


Mark Anderson’s Scarecrow Oracle opens by “Going Backwards to Where It Starts” and then takes us forward through the speaker’s childhood into his early adulthood, traveling through time as he stays rooted in place–the Spokane Valley, The Empyrean Coffee Shop, the Rockford Fair. The question the speaker is always asking is how to live in a world steeped in loss. Early in the collection, the young speaker asks a dandelion this question, and in response, “it lets go of everything it has ever been.” Towards the end, the older speaker, less stunned now by the dandelion’s quick vanishing, tells us as he performs the ordinary act of making his bed, “I want to be ready to be a ghost or a nothing…./ And when the time comes I part the curtains / and let in the astonishing day.” Anderson’s book translates the silences and fears of childhood and early loss into a series of images that answer, beautifully and without explanation, his difficult question.

— Laura Read, author of Dresses from the Old Country