Kingdom Come Radio Show

kingdom_come_radio_showKingdom Come Radio Show
Buy from Barrow Street Press
Buy from Amazon

About Kingdom Come Radio Show:

We know much of what happens when we break atoms apart. Yet how much of that human history can the human voice carry? Even the flesh is an agglomerate of unstable atoms, leaking secrets. This book and its sound pieces show us how the poem, itself rattled by atomic shifts, can carry our shadows. What’s left, our earthly remnants, is bathed in the light of song, like a deer leaping through in its precise talent, bones made radiant.
– Eleni Sikélianòs

Kingdom Come Radio Show is a documentary poetics that reads like a gorgeous, shattering symphony. Here the movements of history and the natural world comingle with the strains of personal memoir to create a work of profound music and sensibility. From the terrible imagination of Oppenheimer to the ephemera of mouse tracks, deer antlers and the “violinings of crickets,” Joni Wallace has assembled an astonishing elegy for our beautiful, doomed earth.
Karen Brennan (author of little dark, Monsters)

Skeleton grottoes, body sorrows, Hank Williams’ cries, a nightjar singsongs: how tangible the loneliness-es in these poems. In such poems, animals keep their distance. The fenced-off ghosts of atomic bomb tests are the inscrutable blank spaces on Western maps, whose moans haunt the redacted lines of history. Terror and wonder are fleetingly captured in the yellowed documents, hand-held films, radio plays, and chance photographs that make up the post-nuclear world of Joni Wallace’s book, which also portends the future— planes become drones, guard towers become cell towers, and the mushroom cloud becomes only the cloud. Wallace is a risk-taking poet who invents new words for old realities, and recovers old words for new realities. We see the terrain in startling light.
– Richard Greenfield (author of A Carnage in the Lovetrees, Tracer)

Kudos to Joni Wallace for her revelatory assemblage of word and sound images that provides glimpses into the hopes and misgivings of Oppenheimer (architect of the Manhattan Project) and his wife, as well as the southwest landscapes that surrounded the Project in 1945. Having grown up in Los Alamos (a generation earlier than the author), I passed through the ensuing decades as a practicing physicist harboring considerable angst about atomic age consequences and reverberations. Thus my resonance with this transcendent poetic documentary: beyond physics, beyond space-time, indeed, supra-noetic. Imagery constructed through allegory, sound piece, and metaphor transforms our mindset about super weapons, human exploitation of the planet, and the threats facing natural systems. Oppenheimer, appearing as “shadow puppeteer,” as tern, as aria inside the guts of a mouse, has “no direction home.” This portrayal of a crucial period is inspiring and emboldening but also disturbing in view of the atomic legacy and the present world condition.
– James Bradbury, PhD

Joni Wallace © 2016 | website by Noah Saterstrom | images by Michael McNulty