George Looney is the author of seven books of poetry—including, most recently, Structures the Wind Sings Through—and one novella. He is the founder of the BFA in Creative Writing Program at Penn State Erie, editor-in-chief of the international literary journal Lake Effect, translation editor of Mid-American Review, and co-founder of the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival.
Poetry. Winner of the Red Mountain Poetry Prize. “‘Flames, reflected, turn the Thames / a color it will never be again…’ These lines from WHAT LIGHT BECOMES: THE TURNER VARIATIONS by George Looney states themes of his tightly woven and brilliantly meditative collection of lyric verse. Each poem refers to a painting of William Turner and each reaches beyond to explore perception, memory, passion, and art. Focus on this 19th century London painter’s work allows the poet to delve into mysteries of the elements and transience. Together, all the pieces of the collection create work of a grand master.”—Denise Low
The Itinerate Circus New and Selected Poems 1995-2020
Like the poetry of Richard Hugo, whom George Looney invokes in so many of his own poems, this is a poetry deeply sad, the landscapes brutal, the images grim. I myself think often of contemporary balladeers such as Richard Thompson and Tom Waits reading this work, turning my mind to all that which we don’t expect art to notice, attend to, mourn and celebrate. Looney has given the Midwest back to us in lines so tender and beautiful we can almost believe we are worthy of them.
—Kathy Fagan, author of Sycamore