Whether in the alley, in the woods or out the back door, the poems in Michael Haeflinger’s debut collection create a soundtrack to a world thrumming with unease. They inhabit spaces between stations on the radio dial and ask readers to lean-in and listen for it: the quiet rage building around us. Haeflinger’s poems channel neighbors who’ll never look each other in the eye, sons lost on mountaintops, and drivers sitting in traffic as the world changes around them. They invite readers to live in the “in-between” spaces they inhabit – where no one knows whether they’re coming or going. Low Static Rage is a dazzling showcase of Haeflinger’s mastery of form, craft and style.
PRAISE FOR LOW STATIC RAGE
“Michael Haeflinger’s imagination thrives in day dream time. So many of these poems take place in transit: waiting for a bus, stepping out of a car, in an airport & Haeflinger disrupts these drifting moments to remind us that everything is always at stake. World History, Haeflinger reminds us in one of the poems, is always being made. I am grateful for these reminders and disruptions, for Low Static Rage and its attempt to turn up the volume, for the way these poems ask us to tear pages out of the book and give them away. Haeflinger’s poems remind us that we can always choose to snap out of the haze.”
“Michael Haeflinger’s Low Static Rage is a meditation on the mundane and the marvelous, a dreamy inventory of the natural world and the fumbling of humankind. These poems double-back on memory, border jump, and sucker punch. Haeflinger reports us back to us with a steady gaze down the alleys, sidewalks,and splintering back roads of America’s broken heartlands while never backing down from the dark.”
– Krista Franklin, author of Under the Knife and Study of Love & Black Body
“Low Static Rage proves Haeflinger to be a master of noticing. Rather than poems that are fantastic in their conceit and feeble in their telling we see in this book a poet with the rare ability to unfold a story in the careful details. Haeflinger’s vision extends from the celestial to the Biblical to the utterly mundane. He treats each subject with a democratizing kind of empathy that echoes the best of Frank O’Hara and Gwendolyn Brooks. Haeflinger brings the elegist’s care to every stanza. These poems are a gift and a guide.”
– Nate Marshall, author of Wild Hundreds
“In Low Static Rage, Michael Haeflinger’s poems ride the tension between the slice of the razor and the bleed. He packs powerful imagery and story, nothing escapes notice. He asks, “What could possibly remain/after all these Saturdays/ scanning the earth?// an old spoon, a pickle jar lid,/a busted wristwatch, a rusty knife blade:/what’s found can’t matter.” In Low Static Rage, what’s found matters.”
– Kevin Miller, author of Home and Away: The Old Town Poems
“In exquisite poems and instructions filled with rage and tenderness, Michael Haeflinger challenges us to consider our connections to the natural world, neighbors, stray bullets, “flat Indiana”, Frankfurt, Hebron, and more. The worlds depicted in Low Static Rage are both familiar and strange, near and far, places where “we never look / into one another’s eyes” yet “don’t seem to understand / why we can’t look away”.
– Renee Simms, author of Meet Behind Mars
“Haeflinger has generously sent us a field reporter’s notes from The Great American Nowhere, the hollow left behind after our phones carved out everything else. Succumb to the cicada dusk rush of memory he conjures in every poem, and you won’t notice the javelin of heartbreak going through you, smooth as 20 year scotch, leaving you smarting and smarter. A ripe achievement.”
– Violet LeVoit, author of I Miss the World and Scarstruck
“A mythic, but literal, strong in detail, earth and sky bound poetry with personal truths and a profound, passionate philosophy. Haeflinger creates a moving fractal of styles in the narrative and lyric modes, using both fractured lines and full-line verse to capture the seriousness of his deed: to document and to provide a testimony of individual life, struggles and successes, to attach his inner world of possibility to the outer reality we all know.”
– Albino Carrillo, author of In the City of Smoking Mirrors
“Haeflinger inspires his reader to consider the gift of place in our lives, the bank drive-thru corridors, mulberry patches, neighborhoods, the last café we met in, as well as flipped concepts of place: nautilus shells, the ocean, a lung, our own bodies hollowed out when we are recognized by memory. These poems simultaneously reflect a devastating world that “manages” despite the “explosions of sand” and nurtures lovers making faces in a photo booth. What a world. It makes me want to write.
– Abby E. Murray, Tacoma Poet Laureate (2019-21) and author of How to Be Married After Iraq
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from the Midwest, Michael Haeflinger is the author of two chapbooks, Love Poem for the Everyday (2011) and The Days Before (2014), both from Dog On A Chain Press. In 2016, he released Let’s Don’t Be Crazy, a spoken word and music album.
He is the recipient of the Rutgers-Camden Award for Community Engagement (2013), The Amocat Award for Community Engagement (2017), and a Tacoma Arts Initiative Program Award (2015). He is the Executive Director for Write253, a literary arts organization in Tacoma, WA.
ABOUT THE COVER ART
The cover art for Low Static Rage was created by Mike Bolsinga, a Chicago-raised painter living in Portland, Oregon. It is a painting titled “Polar Vortex,” created in 2014. Find more of Bolsinga’s art on his website, or on Instagram at @bolsinga.