Randy Blythe was born in Alabama and studied at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Alabama. He edited Aura from 1986 to 1988, co-founded Birmingham Poetry Review and co-edited that publication from 1988 to 1998, and assistant-edited Birmingham Poetry Review from 1998 to 2008. In addition to his work as a teacher, writer, and editor, he was a plumber for many years in Birmingham, a cattle farmer on his family’s land in Etowah County, Alabama, and a drummer in rock, jazz, blues, and country bands. He lives in Birmingham and continues to teach composition, literature, and creative writing. He has published poems in numerous little magazines, among them The Laurel Review, Tar River Poetry, South Carolina Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, and Black Warrior Review. This is his first full-length collection.
In The Human Part, the poems wend their way through personal, historical, regional, philosophical, aesthetic, familial, and spiritual landscapes, and in doing so echo a larger search for how and where liberation might be found, except that the deliverance Blythe's poems conjure at is not what one might expect. Through grit and laughter, the poems level a cold eye at discovering what the true human part is, who we really are beyond the Walmart life we settle for. The result is at times amusing, at times unsettling, often querulous. A sense persists throughout that the good and bad, the laughter and pain we share are inevitable and integral to some end, but what end eludes us. These poems don't go for easy answers because there are none. At the same time, in language and subject matter, the poems themselves are readily accessible, their upshot often a species of clear-eyed joy. Their call is meant for those driven to explore, top to bottom, the heavens and dungeons of the project we understand as being, where we are bound to find nothing if not ourselves.
The Human Part, in both paperback and Kindle editions, is available on Amazon and through the Catalog tab at www.futurecycle.org.