In this extraordinary new collection by distinguished poet Christopher Howell, the opening poem presents us with a spiritual paradox that will echo throughout its pages. The speaker remembers an earlier time of happiness, freedom, and a certain innocence. The poem closes with:
And if he remembers now
he is in love, which is the soul's condition, and alone
because that is how we live.
"How we live" is the book's major inquiry; its illustration, the poems' major achievement. How do we live, in our dailiness, in our loves, our private and global wars? And, in the face of unbearable grief, how can we live?
When Keats, at last beyond the curtain
of love's distraction, lay dying in his room
on the Piazza di Spagna, the melody of the Bernini
Fountain "filling him like flowers,"
he held his breath like a coin, looked out
into the moonlight and thought he saw snow.
He did not suppose it was fever or the body's
weakness turning the mind. He thought, "England!"
and there he was, secretly, for the rest
of his improvidently short life: up to his neck
in sleigh bells and the impossibly English cries
of street venders, perfect
and affectionate as his soul.
For days the snow and statuary sang him so far
beyond regret that if now you walk rancorless
and alone there, in the piazza, the white shadow
of his last words to Severn, "Don't be frightened,"
may enter you.
No excerpt of any of the poems will help you understand the poignancy and meaning in these poems. Read them. Read them all. It will change your life.
--Salem Statesman Journal
Preface IIf He Remembers June Light in OsloRunningMetamorphosisTrusting the BeadsUnexpectationHistoryTodaySituation 2003A Party on the Way to RomeApacatastasisIf the World Were GlassThe CounterchimeConfessionHe Writes to the Soul1974 II Stories for Braille CalliopeSometimes at the Braille CalliopeBird Man StrandedThe Eye Becomes Birds Because of WarThe Toad PrinceKing's ExZenoThe Thriteenth IntervalTeleology of the AirhoseKing of the ButterfliesThe Montavilla ReveriesThe Fire Elegies1. Family Values2. The Double Suicide of Marriage3. To Build a Fire4. Storm5. Arrivals6. The Angels of RescueA Christmas Ode After the Fashion of Michael Hefferman...Heaven IIIWhy the River Is Always LaughingGalileoStory TimeAll Day at the Brainard Pioneer CemeteryBackyard AstronomyLetterCole PorterThe GetawayKeatsEventLike Rain DescendingThe New OrpheusA Little Blues AcknowledgmentsAbout the Poet
Series: Pacific Northwest Poetry
For Ages: 22+ years old
For Grades: 17+
Number Of Pages: 96
Published: 1st April 2004
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.83 x 15.7
Weight (kg): 0.14