Patrick Lawler has published three collections of poetry: A Drowning Man is Never Tall Enough (University of Georgia Press, 1990); reading a burning book (Basfal Books, 1994); and Feeding the Fear of the Earth, winner of the Many Mountains Moving poetry book competition (2006). In addition, he has received a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship, two grants from the New York State Foundation for the Arts, and an award from the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. Lawler’s poetry and fiction have appeared in over one-hundred journals including American Letters & Commentary, American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, Ironwood, Shenandoah, and Hotel Amerika. He has written numerous plays and has been involved with experimental multimedia pieces, art installations, and performance art. An Associate Professor at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, he is the former director of the ESF Writing Program where he teaches environmental writing and nature literature courses. He is the ecopoetry and drama editor of the journal Many Mountains Moving.
The Meaning of If
“You just have to admire all the possibilities,” says one character in Patrick Lawler’s short story collection, The Meaning of If—a sentence that encapsulates the myriad of “if’s” explored in these pages. At times surreal and yet so realistic, we hear each “muffled whisper,” we see each “muddy photograph,” we know each “secret life,” as if it were our own. These are familial stories of transition and transformation—both mental and physical—that consider the question “What if?”