“David McElroy is in fine form in his 4th collection. Water the Rocks Make is a series of journeys—through eddies and operating rooms, log-jams and boxing rings, childhood kitchens, dreams of flight, court rooms, and forests alive with spring birdsong. These poems share an ageless vitality, achieving the kind of feats on the page that are only capable from a writer with a sharp poetic ear and a deft heart."
—Elena Passarello, author of Let Me Clear My Throat and Animals Strike Curious Poses
"Like the lawyer in one of McElroy’s poems says, 'All you have is story.' And this is a poet who can capture a person’s whole life story in one short poem, in one stanza of a poem; hell, in one line: “Woman and dog gone, you clean house.” What more could we ask of poetry?"
—Rich Chiappone, author of The Hunger of Crows and Liar's Code
The poems of Water the Rocks Make commit into words the turbulence of emotion and thought stirred up by life’s events: family trauma, psychiatric instability, the legal system, the death of a loved one, identity, cultural displacement, work, loss, creativity, and through everything, love.
Set primarily in Alaska, where author David McElroy has lived most of his life, the real action in these poems is in thought—the mind coming to terms (words) with consciousness, the mixing and rendering of reality and imagination. McElroy delves down the many rapid turns toward meaning through these contemplations on personification of a long-tailed boat in Asia; Adam tasked with naming the creatures; synthesizing the agony of accident, disease, and death; Descartes musing about an oilfield bridge; the excitement of sensual love; and the history and creativity emerging from a landfill.
There is sadness here, but through the rigorous manipulation of imagery, rhythm, and sound, Water the Rocks Make strives to "contribute their daily / details in our remarkable trick of happiness… to rise from the mulch / of dreams like seedling teak goofy with life / and floppy leaves.”