NC Literary Hall of Fame














Colony Collapse Disorder by Keith Flynn

Wings Press
$16.00, paperback
ISBN: 9781609402945
February, 2013
Available from your local bookstore, the publisher, or

"The poems of Colony Collapse Disorder form a geopolitical abecedarium that lives up to Keith Flynns reputation as 'a seminal force in poetry.. a voice for the dispossessed...with rock-gospel charisma and riddle-like revelations.'"

"Colony Collapse Disorder is a book of journeys, journeys across the world, journeys of conscience and witness, journeys of spiritual discovery. Flynn is one of our finest contemporary troubadours, heir to Bop, to the Beats, the poetry of Rock and Roll, the roar of Walt Whitman, and the seduction of cinema. He is a poet of overwhelming energy, in rebellious ballads, stunning life riffs, and wry meditations. In this work we feel a relish for both improvisation and craft, in delicate lyrics of longing, in songs of protest, and progressive commentary on todays violent and chaotic news. Like the best music, Flynn's poems bind us together with a shared sense of failure, challenge, joy, and love."
—Robert Morgan, author of Terroir

"Keith Flynn's lyrical travelogue, a revolution of sound and story, celebrates the reader as witness. Not only are we transported to gorgeously-crafted locales, but we are rooted there by the poet's unerring narrative, transforming each poem with a facet of light, an illuminative hallelujah. Scan the poetic landscape all you want, but you won't find anything like this." —Patricia Smith, author of Blood Dazzler

From the Introduction:
The poems in this book are built in a circular fashion like a Mayan calendar, its architecture and interconnected narrative have a hive mind, with each poem connected to the poem in front and behind it by a theme, an image, or a single word. Colony Collapse Disorder is a place-based abecedary in which each letter of the alphabet is represented by two places, cities, countries, or regions whose name corresponds to the letter and its assigned poem. The poem may be inspired by the place or its traditions, written with geography's characteristics in mind, or can be aimed at the place, or may take the irony of the place and nestle its rhythm next to the future that is drifting inexorably closer.

There are a wide variety of forms and textures, but each poem, 52 in all, correspond with the weeks of the year, and interlock the entire collection with historical vignettes and try to capture a sense of what a worker bee might see through the eyes of a human, how the various places might feel and think through their gauze of feuds or appetites or vanities. Poetry is language with a shape, and a music all its own, my hope is that these shapes bring the reader along, around the world in eighty or so pages, and to feel as if they are completely at home between its covers, bent toward the horizon with a new awareness of the other spirits that are occupying their hive.

Keith Flynn ( is the author of six books, including five collections of poetry: The Talking Drum (1991), The Book of Monsters (1994), The Lost Sea (2000), The Golden Ratio (Iris Press, 2007), and Colony Collapse Disorder (Wings Press, 2013), and a collection of essays, entitled The Rhythm Method, Razzmatazz and Memory: How To Make Your Poetry Swing (Writer's Digest Books, 2007). From 1984-1999, he was lyricist and lead singer for the nationally acclaimed rock band, The Crystal Zoo, which produced three albums: Swimming Through Lake Eerie (1992), Pouch (1996), and the spoken-word and music compilation, Nervous Splendor (2003). He is currently touring with a supporting combo, The Holy Men, whose album, LIVE at Diana Wortham Theatre, was released in 2011. His award-winning poetry and essays have appeared in many journals and anthologies around the world, including The American Literary Review, The Colorado Review, Poetry Wales, The Cuirt Journal (Ireland), Takahe (New Zealand), Poetry East, The Southern Poetry Review, Margie, Rattle, Shenandoah, Word and Witness: 100 Years of NC Poetry, Crazyhorse, and many others. He has been awarded the Sandburg Prize for poetry, the ASCAP Emerging Songwriter Prize, the Paumanok Poetry Award, and was twice named the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for North Carolina. Flynn is founder and managing editor of The Asheville Poetry Review, which began publishing in 1994. For more information, please visit:

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