This sophisticated first collection by Jim Powell synthesizes personal and world history to produce a compelling vision of the past, through verse letters to friends and relatives, translations of Horace, Propertius, Sappho, and others, and allusions to ancient figures of history and mythology.
"I find it difficult to overpraise the ease of this writing, which in one act combines succinct physical presentation and explanation of it. . . . It is perhaps here that Jim Powell, not yet forty, most shows his superiority to many of his contemporaries and seniors. He not only understands the way in which opposites are necessary to one another, he achieves his knowledge in the poem, and so we grasp it as we read. . . . he has tapped a subject matter that is endless and important, and by the thoroughgoingness and the subtlety of his exploration shows he has the power to do almost anything."--Thom Gunn, "Shelf Life"
"His title burns away everywhere in the volume, in the fevers of eros, divination, memory, destruction, and grief. . . . Page for page, there is more sheer fine, clear, yet syntactically subtle and metaphorically gorgeous writing in Powell than I have seen in some time."--Mary Kinzie, "Poetry"
"Jim Powell's poems, like those of Thomas Hardy, are haunted forms, full of ghosts and mocking gods, shadows and foreshadowings. But Powell is a Hardy whose poems we've never read, a Hardy with his hand in the blaze, not stirring the ash in a cold and wind-torn grate."--Jennifer Clarvoe, "The Threepenny Review"