Slate Roof Press

Changeable Gods by Richard Wollman

Changeable Gods


Price: $17.00
Letterpress Cover
Original artwork by Richard Wollman
Hand-sewn binding
ISBN 978-1-64871-586-0

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With echoes of Rilke's sonnets, Changeable Gods compels the reader through a sequence of beautifully imagistic love poems, in which the changing hues of early morning and the gods themselves emerge and recede, only to reemerge under the poet's painterly eye.


It’s early. The fog brings the sky to the ground.
I’m going to a swamp where dead trees gather,
the white swirl no match for their silver skin
laced with water taken from the air,
nearly all of them still standing. What’s fallen
I pick up—as much as arms can carry
back to the road where there isn’t anyone.
How much life is left in them, how much need
rises up from a swamp of leafless trees and mud,
eloquent in its way of asking nothing.

Reviews and Interviews:

The Boston Globe

Cervena Barva Press interview

Changeable Gods is a remarkable book in which Wollman uses clear and lyrical human speech to create a long poem at once complex and intimate. The gods he speaks of do not always inspire trust, but do, however, inspire lyric poetry of sheer beauty:

…last night’s sky when I left you,
Orion tilted and reeling, the handle
of the dipper pointing to the earth
like a dangling chain: you in your jeweled bed
while I drove between the constellations.

These are poems of love, unabashedly so, and because, like all love poems, they try to express the experience of new life, they sometimes speak of the lover as someone capable of giving or taking away life: “Your mouth is the place I go to breathe.” When, in the last poem of the sequence, the gods take flight and the poet is thrown back upon himself, he has that self to fall back on, complex and yes, changeable—deeply changed by having participated in the creation of days unlike any others.

—Alfred Nicol, author of Animal Psalms and Elegy for Everyone

Richard Wollamn

Richard Wollman is the author of Changeable Gods (winner of the Elyse Wolf Prize from Slate Roof Press), Evidence of Things Seen (Sheep Meadow Press), and A Cemetery Affair (Finishing Line Press). An Art of Need, his current manuscript, is about outsider artists and includes ekphrastic poems accompanied by images of the poet’s sculptures. His awards include the Gulf Coast Prize for Poetry, the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award for Poems on the Jewish Experience, and the Firman Houghton Award from the New England Poetry Club. His poems appear in New England Review, Crazyhorse, Prairie Schooner, American Journal of Poetry, Notre Dame Review, and Poet Lore. He is Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at Simmons University in Boston and lives in Amesbury, Massachusetts. His poems and artwork may be found at