John F. Buckley

John F. Buckley (Poetry) | Ann Arbor, MI

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John F. Buckley has been writing poetry since March 2009, when his attempt at composing a self-help book went somewhat awry. After a twenty-year stint on and near the West Coast, he now lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife. He is the author of five books of poetry: two chapbooks, a solo collection, and two collaborations with Martin Ott. His poems have been nominated multiple times for a Pushcart Prize and have been selected to appear in Barrow Street, The Carolina Quarterly, Cimarron Review, Evergreen Review, Map Literary, Narrative, Southern Humanities Review, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. He holds graduate degrees in creative writing (poetry) and English (literature) from, respectively, the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan and San Francisco State University.


Yankee Broadcast Network (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2014) - Co-authored with Martin Ott.
Yankee Broadcast Network (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2014) – Co-authored with Martin Ott.
Poets' Guide to America (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2012). Co-authored with Martin Ott
Poets’ Guide to America (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2012). Co-authored with Martin Ott
Sky Sandwiches (Anaphora Literary Press, 2012)
Sky Sandwiches (Anaphora Literary Press, 2012)


Leading an Aquamarine Shoat by Its Tail (Alternating Current Press, 2012)
Leading an Aquamarine Shoat by Its Tail (Alternating Current Press, 2012)
Breach Birth (Alternating Current Press, 2011)
Breach Birth (Alternating Current Press, 2011)

Press & Reviews

John F. Buckley’s Sky Sandwiches is a five-course Michelin meal. Buckley is a well-traveled Bukowski. He has a way of peeling back the pain in a lost relationship. It makes you want to look away but you can’t, just like passing an accident on the highway; you’re scanning for glass and blood. This collection cradles the reality of modern popular culture that is embedded in our psyche. Buckley raises his glass and invites you in the den. The chairs are worn but comfortable, just like at Grandma’s in the basement when the TV was turned on. He is a master at revealing the scars one line at a time. He explores diners in Michigan, final yard sales and crushed Californian dreams. Buckley doesn’t lock his doors and has his weathered foldout chair perched right on the rim. He is to be savored as his words caress the sadness that comes from the pain of living. This is one meal you don’t want to miss. Straighten your hair, snap that napkin on your lap, and prepare to deliciously dig in. Bon appetit.
—T. Anders Carson, author of I Knew It Would Come to This

Surrealism is one of the most ruthlessly understood concepts in art, a veritable coat rack upon which artists have hung every excuse for provocation. In Sky Sandwiches by John F. Buckley, the poet reminds us that surrealism is not an end but a means. His incredible imagery, wordplay, and humor all combine to summon a world at once real, urgent, and familiar.
—Brendan Constantine, author of Dementia, My Darling

Highly caffeinated and rich with piety-tweaking lines, these poems entertain and surprise. Time and again I laughed, I marveled. In these poems, “elves make the toys but gnomes do the outdoor work,” the gods of Mount Olympus lose their remote control, and “we mistrust the rapture.” But beneath the linguistic swagger beats a truth: “we see screens and screens/ see us.” Televised narratives shape and warp our perceptions of reality. But television also shapes and warps imagination. Yankee Broadcast Network is vivid proof. Quirky and kinetic language leaps off the pages. Brilliant riffs on reality television, game shows, and situation comedies amuse, jolt. Let me say it again: I laughed, I marveled.
—Eduardo C. Corral, author of Slow Lightning

You’ve stumbled on the best travelogue you’ll ever find. “Every syllable a crossroads…//…a stanza per citizen.” In poetry that drives in the fast lane, but also eagle-eyes every detail, this work brings the familiar to us, washed clean of our prejudices, made new in music. In a project Coleridge and Wordsworth would have appreciated, Buckley and Ott have written a book for the ages, and for our age and place.
—Laura Kasischke, author of Space, in Chains and The Infinitesimals

Real, honest, and painfully humorous, Sky Sandwiches deftly questions the absurdity of living as a perpetual outsider in a superficial world where everyone and everything else fits. Buckley grapples seriously with childhood demons and hard-won adult truths. A language puppeteer, he effortlessly masters satire and pathos that catapult us into the “catawampus” of all we love to hate about America and its “controlling but benevolent” attitude. Here, McMansions, disappointed family members, Walmarts, malt liquor, Blondie, convents, shit tonsils, classrooms, ex-porn stars, mean fertility specialists, and hot sauce melt into an addictive and irresistible Kool-Aid that leaves us panting for more.
—Alexandra Mattraw, author of in the way of harbors

The poems in this book have been crafted by an astute cartographer. These mapped objects together form a deceptively delicate terrain over which we may choose to wander; but be warned that if we stay long enough, only body armor and a helmet could block out the deep rumblings just below the surface of this harsh landscape. A dense and mature book.
—Paul Suntup, author of Sunset at the Temple of Olives

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