My longest book of poems (144 pages),
The Alchemy of Opposites contains all the poems
that I wish to preserve written since
1992 to its publication in 2000.
Although a favorite topic is the natural world
(animals, plants, earth, the cosmos),
I also appropriate images from various
mythologies (including that of Native Americans,
particularly the Zuni people, the ancient Nordic
peoples, and the Bible), and I write about people
I never knew personally (Christina Rossetti,
Klaus Nomi, Sylvester, Freddie Mercury,
Jackie Kennedy Onassis, River Phoenix, Selena,
Leni Riefenstahl, Mickey Mantle, Roy Rogers, and Edgar Degas).
Most of the poetry is centered in my own experience, my
travels in New Mexico, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Europe,
my loss of friends, a brother, and a former lover to AIDS, murder,
and suicide, my personal search for roots, love, and meaning--
in other words, for transcendence.
The prehistoric picture of a bison with its
sort of double head (the head of a second bison
overlaps the head of the first one) from France's
Cave of Niaux on the cover is an image of the same
bison I saw at the Cave of Niaux, and the subject
of the final poem in my book. What I experienced
there in the dark of that deep and enormous cave
was a primal, spiritual experience. I hope
it reinforces my central theme:
the possibility of wholeness from
disparate sources, even if only
for one burning moment.
Clifton Snider has been writing and publishing
25 years to establish
himself as one of American's best . . . contemporary poets. The Alchemy of Opposites . . .
stands as his most outstanding book to date . . . [with] poignant poetry which is highly crafted
and easy to read. But despite the massive amount of loss dealt with here, the book is strangely
comic, even optimistic and upbeat in many ways.
Chiron Review Press
Michael Hathaway, Editor/Publisher
522 E. South Avenue
St. John, KS 67576-2212
or go to Chiron Review Press.
Author photo by Tim Fischer.
Comments about Clifton Snider's other books of poetry:
Jesse Comes Back (1976):
Clifton Snider's book of poems, Jesse Comes Back, impressed me very much. It is very seldom that I . . . can recommend ["a book by a young poet"] as highly as this one.
Snider is one of our very few young poets to make a happy marriage
--Gerald Locklin, Small Press Review
Bad Smoke Good Body (1980):
Bad Smoke Good Body is a beautiful and powerful little book.
--William Meredith, former Poetry Consultant to The Library of Congress
In Bad Smoke Good Body . . . Snider turns to
emotional images. . . .
--Leo Mailman, Maelstrom Review
Jesse and His Son (1982):
. . . just the right amount of pustule, dope and transcendentalism fused.
--Robert Peters, author of Hunting the Snark
Edwin: A Character in Poems (1984):
Clifton Snider has chosen to depict his character, Edwin, with a clean story-like style of imagist opinions rather than narrative involvements. His work becomes insightful and evocative when the images get bawdy and he allows his superb sense of humor to come into play.
--Jenifer Tener, Electrum
Blood & Bones (1988):
This volume . . . completes, with the dropping of the "Jesse" and "Edwin" personae, [Snider's] transition from modern to postmodern artist. The confidence he now exhibits renders accessible to artistic use a rich though often painful personal history.
--Gerald Locklin, Western American Literature
This book does not paint a pretty picture, and the squeamish should
clear. But Mr. Snider is a definite talent, a unique voice, and an
--Eva Von Kesselhausen, Blue Light Review
Southern California poet Clifton Snider explores the unexpected, the
tragic, and the adventurous. In three sections, he writes of a
through Europe in the '70s, of his sudden hospitalization with a
ulcer, and of his return to travel in Europe in the mid '80s.
of the first trip are soaked with the blood oozing into his guts; poems
the second trip reflect good health, a good eye, and maturity.
contrast is appealing; the poems, beguiling.
--Richard Labonte, The Advocate
Impervious to Piranhas (1989):
Snider writes with an extreme economy of words, and focuses most of his book on one subject: pain felt by people. . . . he does get at some gleaming insights. . . .
The Age of the Mother (1992):
In these beautifully spare words, Snider weaves personal mantras of birth, death, and transcendence. He announces the return of the Goddess after centuries of patriarchal dominance.
--Glenn Bach, Small Press Review
Out of . . . profound insight and spiritual wisdom he . . . has
created an offering, a magnificent poetic vision, a prayer-book for the
--Marilyn Johnson, Pearl
Clifton Snider is a brave man. . . . he is also a shaman, a
journeyer, a traveler who sees past and present interleaving and
co-existing. . . .
These poems touch something deep and almost forgotten so that you have
remember and know as if for the first time.
--Richard Lee, author of As Is and The Circumstances of Birds