Refrain Series by Patrick Pritchett


Refrain: a repeated call: a summoning of the listener to a certain kind of attention: a particular posture attuned to the musical structure of phrase and echo, sign and rhyme. Drawing on repetition and return, these poems repeat and amplify the ebb and flow of daily consciousness with its inner networks of memory, textuality, and longing. A refrain is melody recurring, always coming back into itself, repeated, yet changed, a cantus perpetuum delivering the impossible: the rescue of presence from its ongoing ruin, the occasion of mercy where “the small rain down can rain.” What we long for – what calls to us – is what sustains us, even in its absence. —Patrick Pritchett


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 112
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: June, 2020
  • ISBN: 978-1-948017-65-7



And suddenly it seemed to me
we were more truly of the sky
a part of it as a wing is part of its soar
bladed in flight and alight with blue
thrusting muscle, exerting
form against the pulse of gravity
and across wide miles of space
that enfold us everything is horizon
and receding – the day and whatever’s in it
the hour, as it leaves itself behind
warm odors of grass in late August sun
a wren pecking at the porch rail
and every song on the Internet
set free, returning to its maker
for a festival of legacy.
Van Zandt and Wayne Shorter
and “Four Last Songs”
which sleye me sodenly in short order
the ring of fire closes over
and whoever is drunk now
will stay drunk in Heaven or New Haven
all evening, copying the pages of dew
into their notebooks, making
a chain of one change into the next
and humming intricate descriptions
of the way trees move in the wind.
Flaked filaments falling.
Things which do not last.


Patrick PritchettPatrick Pritchett was born in South Bend, Indiana and came of age in Southern California. After working in the film industry, he earned his Ph.D. at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He has taught at Harvard University, Amherst College, and Hunan Normal University in China, and currently lectures in English at the University of Connecticut-Hartford. His scholarly work focuses on post-1945 avant-garde American poetry. Other books of poetry include Burn, Gnostic Frequencies, Song X and Orphic Noise.

Additional information

Weight 7.6 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .375 in