Praise for Passage
Passage tells the story of a Central European family who immigrated to the United States—what they found, what they gained, and what they lost. The poems in the book show the fragmented history conveyed by family tales, when those are all that remain of the past. The poems also celebrate the richness of Hungarian and Slovak culture, and how those cultures contributed to, and were diminished by, American culture. Finally, Passage’s historic view of immigration casts a clear, questioning light on how America treats its newcomers today.
When hardship deep within the genetic memory leads where the “Road turns arrow- / straight to the reservoir / and ends at its shore,” Reevy’s well researched poems not only dive into a murky lake of the impetus and resulting immigration from Slovakia to America, but they also resurface with a fist full of mud, ancestral bone, and seeds of light. Thus, the people and the places Reevy takes us back to become our own stanchion of hope: “Old church still stands / on the hill, but houses / just below are new.”
These plaintive poems do what a hundred immigrant histories can’t—delivering in simple yet powerful fragments the resurfaced voices of past hardships, past passages, like bubbles rising to the surface of a dark, stilled pond.
Tony Reevy’s poems waltz across the page as they excavate a half-erased past. Through persona, narrative, and meditation, this collection investigates what a poet’s role is in recording and reassembling histories broken by war and emigration. As he traces his own family, Reevy echoes a larger American story, one where “no one can stop / the craters swallowing lawns, / playgrounds as dark rocks / shift far below.” This lyrical and haunting collection explores that shadowy underside as well as the glittering surfaces of his family’s native and adopted landscapes, the passage of time, and the most powerful inheritance of all: stories.