"Exuberant...In his fast-paced, irregular, and superbly assembled free verse, in effusions and snapshots, hot pursuits of teen memories and spiky commitments to adult life, Rivard makes joy and satisfaction aesthetically interesting...Rivard sounds always urbane, unmistakably American."
Publishers Weekly

"Rivard's poems move ...with an exhilarating, smart pace of association and evocation. The speed of mind, compressing details and emotions, covering the maximum distance in the least time, gives this writing its thrill....These street-wise, book-wise, eloquent poems have a bracing sureness and scope."
—Robert Pinsky, The Washington Post

"His peculiar intensity and refusal to harbor delusion during a time when other writers of his generation seem more interested in shtick and posturing make his writing seem all the more necessary."
—David Wojahn, The Southern Review


Now that your hair your dark brown
and slightly coppery hair at 11 so like your mother’s
hair falls well past your shoulders when wet
pasted to the back of your t-shirt after a shower
as you sit at the top of the stairs laughing
instructed by the storm of some unlimited unseen feeling
I remember that when you were younger
and some passerby or friend said how beautiful you were
(which was & is true) I would nod simply
tho the custom might have been to thank them
for the compliment I thought at the time
it was dumb to take undeserved credit for what
seemed an obvious indebtedness to happenstance
(I mean the wanderings of DNA across the many powers
of heated summer skin thankful for oxygen kisses & wine)
and sometimes I even thought it might make as much sense
if I said “all aboard” in reply or “be careful that match is lit”
or “she is the stone drenched with rain that marks the way”
but I didn’t & feel sure you would be relieved at that
in light of your very sensible desire (and one that we share)
to fly above or walk atop or run over or sit upon as much earth
as is possible without having to suffer an embarrassment
of any sort & at any rate you were never there exactly
when someone said “she’s beautiful” you were nearby
it’s true & within earshot but far away
in the folklore & gossip of play paying no attention at all
to the adult world now you’re moving closer to it
yourself almost ready (or not) the first warm day in May—
believe in what you feel
never to be abandoned
elsewhere tonight
the thief with a branch of our climbing white rose in her hand
does too.

available August 2, 2016