Still, the Sky is a speculative mythology rendered through poetry and art that combines the tales of Icarus and the Minotaur and creates for them a shared coming-of-age through a correspondence of written fragments, artifacts, ecofacts, and ephemera. The resulting narrative becomes a labyrinth of fragmented memories, confessions, and tributes—and these mix throughout as fever dreams and meditations on innocence and experience, flight and failure, love and loss.
The second child is the minotaur itself, resident of that labyrinth, the half-man/half-bull offspring facilitated by Daedalus’s genius. In sharply vivid verse, powered by yearning and precision of language, Pearson imagines a shared childhood for the two on the island of Crete, growing toward their tragic fates with “Mothers’ milk withdrawn, fathers’ care deported.” Pearson explores their youth, their loneliness, their understanding of who they are, how they thank “the darkness for / The cloak under which to share this silent awe, / This togetherness”. In Pearson’s handling, these figures maintain their sense of ancient mystery while still coming to rich, moving life, “The miserable children of those committing / Atrocities we couldn’t comprehend, yet.” These lives are presented in sometimes literal correspondence, inviting readers to connect with hearts that the myths and most retellings don’t dig into deeply.
A work of originality and power, Still, the Sky originated as part of a broader multi-media project incorporating theatrical production and visual art; the poetry, written in non-rigid quatrains, has the expressive clarity of dramatic monologues. Illustrating the text is Pearson’s marvelous, allusive mixed-media art, which incorporate miniatures, wooden boxes, fossils, lotus and seed pods, and more to suggest labyrinths, dreaming, inventions, and a sense of life fading away.
Takeaway: With originality and power, this collection imagines the lives and hearts of Icarus and the minotaur.
Great for fans of: Analicia Sotelo’s Virgin, Roberto Calasso.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
From Interview with Tom Pearson for Pacific Book Review: What do you hope your readers take away from this book? I am always hesitant to say because I hope that the work will offer reflection for them, that readers will take away something very personal that the words and images conjure. Mythology and poetry are both interesting because they can be super specific but also open channels into larger associations. I’ve created a lot of provocations about coming of age and relationships, especially between men, that get rather complex, and so I hope there is enough detail in these that they might create sensory or memory pathways that register on some deep level with readers whether identifying through first romantic or sexual relationships, or relationships with mentors or father-figures, or connecting with the sacred feminine forces that are also very present in these stories. Read the full interview.
From Q&A with Tom Pearson for BookLife by Publisher’s Weekly: Do you think your theater work has influenced your writing? Definitely. My work in theater and my writing have always been intertwined, but only in the past few years have I put the writing forward on its own. My first book, The Sandpiper’s Spell, follows a sort of ritual/ceremonial structure much like my immersive performances. Still, the Sky continues this, but with a theatricality also enhanced by the design elements of the artwork in the book. Contemporary poetry is frequently considered autobiographical, but I often employ character-driven narratives while considering the reader experience and structural as well. That’s the choreographer/ director in me meeting the poet. Read the full interview.
“Still, the Sky is an impeccably researched and elegantly designed collection combining poetry exploring and reimagining the dual Bildungsromane of Icarus and Asterion with intriguing installation artwork that enhances the text... a well-paced journey that oscillates between action and dreamy lyric contemplation.” – Blue Ink Reviews (Starred Review)
Book Launch event with reading and music.
“This striking collection of dramatic verse interrogates, complicates, and humanizes… A work of originality and power, Still, the Sky… has the expressive clarity of dramatic monologues. Sharply vivid verse, powered by yearning and precision of language” — BookLife by Publishers Weekly (Editor’s Pick)
“Still, the Sky is a labyrinthine poetic epic that fleshes out a resilient and multifaceted mythological brotherhood.” — Dontaná McPherson-Joseph, Foreword Clarion Reviews
From Paw Prints, Guest Essay at Author Anthony Avina’s Blog: “I have begun to meditate on what these little threads mean over time, how a body of work forms from the scraps of previous work, how material moves forward and themes reiterate, or ideas sift and fold back together again to create specificity. It becomes a pattern for world building, one iteration at a time. It makes the work larger through the micro-expressions along the way—allowing for volunteer images that might invisibly imprint upon the eventual narrative.”
“A wellspring of carefully-wrought imagery… Pearson’s poetry accomplishes a unique etherealness, precariously tethered to the present with a gossamer string, leaving the reader to feel the distance of millennia.” — Joshua Ryan Bligh, Independent Book Review
Still, the Sky receives a 2023 Indie Reader Discovery Award in fiction.
“A stunning collection of thought-provoking [poetry] and arresting artwork… cleverly combining a coming-of-age motif with tales from Greek Mythology, Tom Pearson’s STILL, THE SKY is as much a deliberate statement as it is a placeholder for further examination” — James Weiskittel for IndieReader
Listen to Interview with Tom Pearson on the Inside Scoop Live! Podcast.
From Interview with Tom Pearson for Indie Reader Discovery Awards: Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?) I am motivated by the ideas themselves and how they develop, what they say that they want from me. Sometimes, that means the idea becomes a book of poetry, sometimes a piece of visual art, and sometimes a performance-based work. I am motivated to be authentic and to be medial, to move things from one space to another—to really listen and invite inspiration and then work it into something that is shareable that could help someone else. Read the full interview.
From Interview with Tom Pearson for Review Tales: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A caster of spells. A sorcerer. Or an architect. I really wanted to build a pyramid. Read the full interview.
“Mesmeric and enveloping… fluid poetry and stunning visual multimedia” — Kirkus Reviews
“Pearson’s meticulous choice of words and his innate sense of narrative rhythm—coupled with his sublime use of multimedia art… make for an unarguably unique experience.” — Kirkus Reviews
“The Greek mythology references provide a special draw to scholarly readers; but the travel through history fueled by Tom Pearson's employment of various poetic devices creates its own unique blend of observation and philosophy. Now, the Greek myths retold here do not necessarily require a background in Greek literature—but those who do hold such interests and background will find the poetry especially evocative, filled with references that offer thought-provoking connections between past and present.” – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“Still, the Sky is a poetry collection that blends mythology and art in a metaphysical consideration designed to appeal to poets and literature students alike..… a work of literature that ideally should be assigned reading for any class strong in Greek mythology and contemporary poetic reflections of history and lore.” – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“A feast for the eye, the heart, the spirit… reminiscent of the best of Robert Graves and Ezra Pound… Clearly a poet — a poet of words, and a visual poet — is at work here. — Pacific Book Review
Still, the Sky receives 2022-2023 Reader Views Literary Awards in three categories including the SPONSORED AWARD BY INSIDE SCOOP LIVE! for the Most Innovative Book of Poetry.
Still, the Sky is a Readers’ Favorite Book Award Winner (Fiction-Mythology) with Five Star Reviews.
MUST READ: “Pearson reminds us of the sheer romantic power of mythology but also sculpts and shapes it… There was something forbidden and foreboding lurking in each stanza - encapsulating the bittersweet of coming-of-age and relationship between two young men, lost in what connects them and severs them in the end… a must-have collection masterfully marrying the past with the present.” — Kristiana Reed, Reedsy Discovery
“This exuberant creation delights the eyes and inner ear and lends itself to repeat readings and in-depth thinking…. Poems about Icarus flying too close to the sun explore the responsibility of the father and suggest that a father's neglect is a far more tragic reason for a son's fall than the dangers of the son's ambition.” — R.J. Johnson, The US Review of Books