Often Fanged Light is a collection of poems reflecting the joys and horrors of the natural world; it memorializes lives early ruined and lives lost, excoriates social and environmental injustices, and more than hints at the poet’s complicity in this “dome of many-colour’d glass.” From the personal standpoint, Often Fanged Light delineates the poet’s journey from the heartland of the industrial Midwest to a small town on the southeast coast of Massachusetts, and her divorce from an engaged working life to one of contemplation, devotion to the arts, and advocacy.
“Nature assumes a voice in Often Fanged Light, the most recent poetry collection by Anca Vlasopolos, who has turned her eye once again to the landscape and the many ways it intrigues and awes while summoning us to be better stewards. Birds are ‘flaming acrobats’ that ‘glide on fringed hems,’ trees wave ‘flame-colored handkerchiefs,’ a seed poises ‘like a ballerina on one pointed shoe before its leap to spring,’ and hummingbirds are ‘jewels shot into southern space.’
“There is reverence for the environment in these works that link the passion of the Romantic poet with the activism of the ecopoet, offering up meditations on the sublime in nature while speaking to the ecological anxieties of our times. Vlasopolos, with the finely tuned perception of both a field scientist and a seer, records images and events that we might easily overlook, and in this focus on what might otherwise be lost she ignites reflection and inspiration. Often Fanged Light is part bestiary in its vivid chronicle of winged and terrestrial creatures, part eulogy for their lost and despoiled worlds, and part entreaty to the better nature in us all.” — Dorene O’Brien, award-winning author of Voices of the Lost and Found
“Anca Vlasopolos’ Often Fanged Light> renders nature through the burning laser lens of a woman who is yet that immigrant from the European displacement camps, coming to America and discovering again in New England’s seasonal rawness the fierce will to beauty, to cruel loss and survival, to a core of human wisdom that true naturalists learn and instruct. This collection is an outburst of nature poems for the 21st century, particular and laconic by turn, funny yet biting and bitter in humor, its figures of speech stunningly vivid and new, befitting its capture of New England’s flora and fauna as displays of Nature in its original facticity.” — Shirley Geok-lin Lim, author of Among the White Moon Faces (American Book Award), and recipient of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize and MELUS Lifetime Achievement Award.