Reverence for the women in the poet’s life, stealth bombers, a juvenile cougar strangled on the trail and plenty of blank space on well-organized pages come together in The Pieces You have Left, Staley’s second full-length collection. Echoes of recent giants from Mary Oliver to bell hooks, musical quotations from Lucinda Williams to Miles Davis, support a collection distinguished by winningly colloquial titles: “I’d Like to Teach the (Tone Deaf) World to Sing,” and “The Solid Beams and Poles That Support Society Are Cottage Cheese, Mostly”. Staley hits that sweet spot of subtle, real vulnerability to keep you engaged in surprising ways. He often writes to honor the dead, among them a mother-in-law who, in the late 1960s, left the convent with an acoustic guitar on her back and decades later: “moved to New Mexico and gave everything but her clothes to a family who lost their home in a fire.”
This collection was a Finalist in the 2021 Hillary Gravendyk Prize poetry book competition sponsored by Inlandia Institute of California, and was featured in the Harlem Book Fair 2021.
“Staley writes from personal experience but elliptically, jumping and omitting details to make the individual parts more suggestive. Each poem comes across as a collage of pieces though the pieces all relate to the whole.” -Joseph Somoza
“The Pieces You Have Left. Those are some good poems. The poem for Suzanne is exquisite ‘promise and surprise’! YAHOO” – Bobby Byrd
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Published in 2021 by Beatlick Press : Oaxaca, Mexico.
Cover Art by Meg G. Freyermuth