Donald Illich (2023)

Rescue is Elsewhere

Donald Illich’s Rescue is Elsewhere is part of our 2023 chapbook series sponsored by a grant from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association.

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A good book of poems finds its way into your days, into your thoughts and habits. A great book of poems, though, wraps you in its light and pulls you into its own universe. This is exactly the experience I get reading Donald Illich’s new collection, Rescue is Elsewhere. These poems whisk you into space. They probe and they reveal. More than anything, these lines yearn for connections. They lead us toward communion with the vastness of space through the tiniest of keyholes, the most human of wishes. Pick up this book. Follow this poet. You’ll be grateful for the journey.

Dr. Jack B. Bedell, Ghost Forest, Against the Woods' Dark Trunks, Poet Laureate of Louisiana, 2017 - 2019

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These poems take us to other worlds, literally. Illich has crafted a collection of space poems, reminiscent of 50s drive-in movies and pulp magazines. In the style of great sci-fi, many times, the aliens in Illich’s poems represent other things: jingoism, a launching place for talk of environmental destruction, fears about the future.

“I don’t want to know what I don’t know,” one character says. In most cases, the aliens represent something beautiful and otherworldly, something that can lift us out of the humdrum day-to-day focus on ourselves. The question is are we going to hide in the basement or embrace the light?

CL Bledsoe, You Hated Us for Our Wings So We Never Flew

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The poems of Rescue Is Elsewhere take us to outer space and back, but our real journey involves the mind of Donald Illich: a place of intelligence, wit, and compassion. Like Tony Hoagland and Campbell McGrath, he is a chronicler of attention and wonder, and a singular fabulist for our time.

J.D. Smith, Transit

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About the Author

Donald Illich’s work appears in such journals as the Iowa Review, LIT, Nimrod, Passages North, Rattle, Fourteen Hills, The Louisville Review, Cimmaron Review, Map Literary, Spork, Cream City Review, and Sixth Finch.

He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and received a scholarship from the Nebraska Summer Writers Conference. He won Honorable Mention in the Washington Prize book contest and was a β€œDiscovery” / Boston Review 2008 Poetry Contest semi-finalist. Gold Wake Press named his full-length manuscript a finalist during their 2015 open reading.

His work has been anthologized in A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry and City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry.

He published a chapbook, Rocket Children, in 2012, and published another chapbook in 2016, The Art of Dissolving (Finishing Line Press). His full-length manuscript, Chance Bodies, was published in 2018 by The Word Works.

He is a technical writer who lives and works in Rockville, Maryland.

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