Robert Miltner’s prose poetry collection is Hotel Utopia (New Rivers Press), winner of the Many Voices Project poetry prize; his prose poetry chapbooks include Against the Simple (Kent State University Press), winner of a Wick Chapbook award, and Eurydice Rising (Red Berry Editions), winner of the Summer Chapbook award; his book of brief fiction is And Your Bird Can Sing (Bottom Dog Press). A recipient of an Ohio Arts Council award in poetry, he has been a finalist for the National Poetry Series, the Louise Bogan Award for Artistic Merit and Excellence, and the New York Center for the Book chapbook prize. An Emeritus Professor of English at Kent State University and the Northeast Ohio MFA in Creative Writing (NEOMFA), Miltner edits The Raymond Carver Review. He lives in the historic Vassar Park neighborhood in Canton, Ohio, with his wife, the writer Molly Fuller.
Triptych disrupts conventions of book authorship. Between two covers are three books, The Three-Legged World by Peter Grandbois, In Time by James McCorkle, and Orpheus & Echo by Robert Miltner. Of course, books converse with other books, and poetry, rippling from unmeasured sound into rampant forms, is especially polyphonic. Etruscan brings these three books together because they exerted upon our editors a gravitational pull, causing the shadow of one to fall across the reading of another. Sufficient on their own, these books achieve new altitudes when aligned. Triptych launches no school. It backs no cause. What these books share is not easily labeled. None follows narrative conventions. None dwells on confession. None abides predictable meter. None is easily parsed. Each climbs eerie heights where ego finds no purchase. Each takes a kaleidoscopic view of selfhood. Each takes flight toward apotheosis. Each blesses the moments “Before we turn into air,” or give way to “tongue of trees, language of clouds,” and before “Gods and dogs begin their talking back,” before birds “are falling through their late bodies.” In Miltner’s ogham-deep caesuras, in McCorkle’s speech-song, and in Grandbois’s cadences which whisper like ghostly passersby, “sound is emanation,” and emanation asks, “what would this line be without the words?”