David’s first chapbook of poetry, Autogeography, is an exploration of place, home, and identity, what poet David Gewanter calls “a wanderer’s handbook on how to live ‘without location’ and ‘in this place.’” Poet Jennifer K. Sweeney describes the collection by saying, “David Ebenbach explores the borders of self and place….There is great warmth and presence in these poems.” In the words of poet and editor Jonathan K. Rice, “This collection is unsettling, spiritual, real, and relevant.”
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Here are a few sample poems from the collection that were first published online:
“You Can’t Choose Your Place.” DMQ Review (2011).
“Private School.” Stirring (2011).
“Space.” 2River View (2011). (It’s underneath my poem “Shabbat Comes Over West Philadelphia.”)
“David Ebenbach’s chapbook Autogeography is motivated by curiosity about what makes a person. The book portrays self as a place, and every event we experience becomes its own landscape in memory, one we visit again and again and which changes over time as we learn to see farther, better, and more kindly.”
-Nancy White, writing for the Sow’s Ear Poetry Review
“David Ebenbach understands that ‘You can’t choose your place’; he is the charming, open-eyed traveler whose past is packed away. Whether the speaker confronts a chilled ‘City of Oppositions’ or glimpses the ‘invented, under-the-bed country of a child,’ he must travel westward and inward. The heart pushes us along America’s angry ‘national road’; the mind becomes ‘all map and diligent chart.’ The poems of Autogeography are quick, emotionally vivid, ironic, quietly fierce: a wanderer’s handbook on how to live ‘without location’ and ‘in this place.’”
-David Gewanter, author of War Bird
“In Autogeography, David Ebenbach explores the borders of self and place as permeable states that co-arise and commune. There is great warmth and presence in these poems of personal landscape as they shift in scale from the human everyday moments of small town life to the larger forces of nature, city and religion. With wit, tenderness and an earnest attention, the poet reaches out to his transitory and sometimes hapless locales as much as each seems to reach back into him, showing us how place anchors itself bodily within and accumulates into a greater self.”
-Jennifer K. Sweeney, award-winning author of How to Live on Bread and Music and Salt Memory
“One can feel the heat of an oppressive July morning where Ebenbach begins this collection, filling our senses with the sounds of cicadas, and the stench of skunk roadkill. The reader joins the poet in his wanderings around the Midwest, and beyond from Denver to Brooklyn. At the end of this journey, he confides, ‘Finally, the body is littered with landscapes, / the brain all map and diligent chart.’ Yet, he ambivalently assures us, ‘Finally the wanderer will settle into one place, / laying the back’s weight on the pavement.’ With keen yet sympathetic observation Ebenbach draws the reader into his Autogeography. This collection is unsettling, spiritual, real, and relevant. It’s noisy and quiet. Ebenbach celebrates the ordinary with a clear voice. I found myself re-reading, and enjoying, each poem in this collection.”
-Jonathan K. Rice, poet and editor of the Iodine Poetry Journal