Wildcat Dreams in the Death Light by Reagan M. Sova / ISBN 9781734906042 / 296-page paperback published by First to Knock Press
Wildcat Dreams in the Death Light is an incantatory work of narrative poetry. Infused with hobo melancholy, Jewish lore, bloodshed, and hilarity, this epic poem is nothing short of a contemporary masterpiece.
Set in 1910s America, Wildcat Dreams in the Death Light traces young Mort Sloman’s odyssey to honor his jockey uncle—the only dead man ever to have won a horse race. But before Mort can organize a worthy funeral, he must acquire “the Locksmith keys”—a form of esoteric knowledge beyond the understanding of even graybeard rabbis.
Undeterred, Mort sets out across the United States with a tree knife and a guitar in order to uncover this mystical secret. In the process, he joins a circus and falls in love with an acrobat. He navigates the dream-world. He witnesses the birth of cinema and the outbreak of World War I. He hops trains and dodges con men. With the help of Big Bill Haywood and the Wobblies, Mort unionizes his adopted family against an oppressive ringleader and his private detectives. And he sings his way out of danger more than once—always holding on to the promise of revelation and peace.
Relentless in its pace and cornpone in its sensibility, Wildcat Dreams in the Death Light depicts the complexity of America with a passion only possible through poetry. This is a work that begs regular rereadings and years of contemplation.
“Wildcat Dreams in the Death Light is a magical romp around a tumbledown version of America. Sova’s imagination twirls and furls boisterous tales triggered by a ride on a stallion nicknamed 'Sweet Kiss of Death.' [This poem] is not made for the faint of heart.” —Bob Nastanovich, Pavement and Silver Jews “Epic, strange, wildly creative, and masterfully told.” — John Yohe, author of Café Schilling and What Nothing Reveals
About the Poet: Reagan M. Sova is an American living in Belgium. His writing career began when he was orphaned at the age of 16. At that time, Sova developed an idiosyncratic gambling method in the casinos of northern Michigan. These bets financed a flight to Paris where, at 20, he first discovered the power of literature. Since then, Sova has produced poetry and prose that have been featured in Ghost City Review, Common Dreams, and Expat Press. He also authored Tiger Island (Harvard Square Press, 2017), an alternate history novel about water privatization, soccer, anarchosyndicalism, and WikiLeaks. In addition to writing poetry and fiction, Sova serves as a writer and editor at The European Institute for Animal Law & Policy, a Brussels-based think tank that seeks to advance the interests of animals in European law and policy.