In this debut collection, poet Jared Beloff explores the sorrow and anxieties of living and parenting in a world on fire. He paints a vivid and often surreal portrait of loss, denial, the beauty of nature and the sublime relationship between a father and his children. Through a series of lyrical poems about parenting, prose poems about Sasquatch walking the apocalypse and intricate concrete poems about disaster, Beloff takes on one of the greatest challenges of our time: How do we face climate change and all its repercussions? How do we persist and find the love that we all deserve. Beloff’s unflinching approach and unique talents make this collection a must read and Beloff a poet to watch.
Praise for Who Will Cradle Your Head
In Who Will Cradle Your Head, Jared Beloff treats language with the same attentiveness with which he regards the Earth and its inhabitants—revealing a cradling consciousness, and the courage to love a dying world. The bird collector lays out the bodies of dead birds “in lines like ruffled silver, a tide of feathers.” Deer “lift their black eyes from foraging,” and “mustard grass and clover / spread like muslin over loss.” In a remarkable sequence of poems, Sasquatch, the mythic human/animal hybrid, speaks with an instinctive intelligence, and from the lyric intensity of “our grief / which is also hope.” These poems enact an acuity of tenderness that is rare in contemporary poetry. —Diane Seuss, author of frank: sonnets
In Jared Beloff’s spectral book, the poet contemplates the enormity of climate change by noting the minute particulars of the natural world, and by shaping poems that square the fate of the planet with the life of the poet’s own child who is invoked here with great tenderness, but whose fate must be imagined alongside our terrible knowledge of environmental catastrophe. Who Will Cradle Your Head is a book of hard truths, but it is also one that shows us how to conceive an alternate future in which Florida is under water, ice exists in museums, and Sasquatch sees the ocean for the first time. There are no easy consolations on offer–just the cool hand of poetry held to the warming world. —Mark Wunderlich, author of The God of Nothingness
In Jared Beloff’s newest collection, Who Will Cradle Your Head, poems braid themselves between the environmental crisis, fatherhood, Sasquatch, and visual poems written for the eye and soul. These are poems that are tender and fierce, poems that look at the world around us and show how reality whistles/in our faces. The strength of this collection is how we seamlessly move from last night’s broadcast discussing climate anxiety/was interrupted by the magnolias dying outside to Sasquatch seeing the ocean for the first time. Beloff is not afraid to play with poetry, to visually respond to the world on fire around us and to continue to make us want to turn the page. These insightful yet grounded poems make you think and feel, showing us the natural world and ourselves with both spirit and candor. —Kelli Russell Agodon, author of Dialogues with Rising Tides (Copper Canyon Press)
Jared Beloff is the closest thing I’ve ever encountered to a living, breathing shapeshifter. Like the Loup Garou, or Count Dracula, or Jacques Clouseau, he’s willing to inhabit whatever shape or form or substance he needs to carry truth to us under the tightest of doorstops. Whether giving voice to Sasquatch, river birch, hamstrung politicians, or a father wishing a kind world for his daughter, the poems in Beloff’s new collection, Who Will Cradle Your Head, are all driven by a single urgency to celebrate the value of this earth, of the air we breathe, of the people we love, and they are more than willing to try any possible angle to do so. Page by page, the poems move effortlessly from beautifully lineated verse, to prose blocks, to mechanical murmurations, and forms established by other poets. I simply cannot think of a recent collection more willing to explore voice and shape to get to what’s necessary than this one, nor can I imagine a poet more capable of pulling it off than Beloff. —Jack B. Bedell, author of Against the Woods’ Dark Trunks, Poet Laureate of Louisiana, 2017-2019
Jared Beloff’s “Who Will Cradle Your Head” is a swirling tour of feral pigs who glow with radioactivity, a pensive and lonely Sasquatch, trees with human skin and weeping hair, and museum exhibits to disaster and sorrow. The world here is surreal, terrifying, gorgeous, and mournful—which is to say, the poems are true. They grapple honestly and starkly with extinction, grief, and adaption. Still, Beloff gives us the gift of insisting that even amidst disaster, there is art, there is love, there is joy—cracked and jagged-edged and hard-won and beautiful. —Teresa Dzieglewicz, author of Something Small of How to See a River
In the face of the climate crisis Jared Beloff’s “Who Will Cradle Your Head” dazzles with its stark yet earnestly beautiful exploration of life and love and fatherhood. Beloff writes the way a soothsayer casts bones, and this book so powerfully renders the future it feels like poetry on the cusp of prophecy. I am awestruck, altered. “There is no earth / only soot and the animals retreating…” —Todd Dillard, author of The Ways We Vanish