Reviews for my book, Balancing on Unstable Ground:
Francis Alix’s Balancing on Unstable Ground employs all the reader’s senses – the poems bleed and chirp and thunder and exude odors both foul and fair. Through unstinting depictions of war and spent love, Alix chronicles what could be the end of things, but, with an alchemist’s pen, transmutes them and us into a vivid way forward “on the wings of foraging birds.”
-Lisa Beatman, author of Manufacturing America: Poems from the Factory Floor
Francis Alix’s Balancing On Unstable Ground echoes Walt Whitman’s “The Poetry of the Future,” in which Whitman states, “The poetry of the future aims at the free expression of emotion… and to arouse and initiate more than to define or finish…” Alix’s clear imagery and graceful short lines are concentrated in the emotions of loss, longing, and pity for the planet. They “arouse and initiate” a common feeling of sorrow in the reader as for the starving child in “Kansas” with “her bent legs grasped by her arms, /both thin as cornstalks” or the starlings in “The Journey” who are “exiled/dumped into the modern wild.” His subjects are never totally defined or finished; rather they ignite the reader’s own irony and melancholy. This affect is impressive in such minimalism. You can hear Alix’s voice speaking them to you with a fervor for living that makes the ordinary extraordinary. Bravo on a well crafted first book whose control of language brings the poet and the reader into a tender dynamic.
-Jane Lunin Perel, Professor of Creative Writing and Women’s Studies, Providence College
Reading Alix’s work, I am reminded of this line from the song, Jungleland, by Bruce Springsteen, in which the lyrics protest, “And the poets down here don’t write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be,” frustrated that poets have somehow abdicated their responsibility by averting their eyes, but more importantly, their words from the struggles, triumphs and drama of everyday life. Alix has been recording life as only he can see it, our world seen through poetic eyes, unafraid to see the harsh realities and capable of sparkling revelations. He has been busy down here, knee-deep in a poets work, bringing our attention to the glories and cruelties, through poetic stories only he can tell. Whatever the subject, Alix slices to the heart of it, as only a poet can do. Springsteen is wrong. There are real poets down here, refusing to let it all be. Francis Alix is one of them.
-Eileen D’Angelo, Editor Mad Poets Review