Results of the Walt Whitman Award in the year 2005.
Half Wild is spiritual biography wound backwards, spiraling into the world rather than out of it. Though it reflects on the paradoxes of our violent times, Mary Rose O’Reilley’s collection hangs on to life like the bee “up to his hips in love” who “will fall asleep in the snow” and “wake up still kissing his flower.” In O’Reilley’s poems, human, animal, and mineral creations interpenetrate and share surreal conversation—even stones exchange stories of “hot times in the magma” and animals are listened to intently. Here sacred inquiry is grounded in a passion for the natural world, resolving questions through lyric, erotic, and sensual response. The poems of Half Wild revel in desire and longing as instruments of theological critique.