The sixth publication in the City Lights Spotlight Poetry Series, Micah Ballard's Waifs and Strays recombines the allure, fixations, and diction of the Metaphysical poets with the alert and streetwise fracturing and instant amazements in contemporary San Francisco. Elegiac, elusive, evocative, the poems roam an urban landscape of bars, books, and chance encounters, where the ghosts of Congo Square haunt the avenues of the Fillmore. With the wasted elegance of Baudelaire, and the handmade warmth of Semina, Waifs and Strays is a rejection of all that is slick and disposable in 21st-century culture.
"We 'exit through a trap door' like Orpheus through the silvered mirror. We are pirates, inmates, benefactors, ghosts. We are always on the move, on a journey remembering to chart and map the future, the poems, Waifs and Strays, a magical gift to give away. This is a breathtaking book of evocations, provocations, revelations." –Norma Cole
"Waifs and Strays is an invocation of poetic ancestry, so as to lead the reader through a gallery of visions imbued with elegance and charm. I enjoy deciphering the marvelous engravings, names, and epitaphs mapped out along its pages. There is a chimerical secrecy at work in these texts, an awareness of the poem as conduit. Mark this encrypted province you hold in your hands." –Guillermo Parra
"A flâneur of the other world, Micah Ballard has been there and back, bringing to San Francisco's streets a sidereal, stylish poetics deeply indebted to the predecessors whose work it reinvents. In Waifs and Strays, collage poems become a means to join forces and 'form a heaven / underground.' But collage turns homage into participation, furthering a long tradition of countercultural verse. It's the wise dead dictating: listen up!" –Brian Teare