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Lay Back the Darkness: Poems


Lay Back the Darkness: Poems Cover

ISBN13: 9780375710025
ISBN10: 0375710027
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Edward Hirschs sixth collection is a descent into the darkness of middle age, narrated with exacting tenderness. He explores the boundaries of human fallibility both in candid personal poems, such as the title piece—a plea for his father, a victim of Alzheimers wandering the hallway at night—and in his passionate encounters with classic poetic texts, as when Dantes Inferno enters his bedroom:

When you read Canto Five aloud last night

in your naked, singsong, fractured Italian,

my sweet compulsion, my carnal appetite,

I suspected we shall never be forgiven

for devouring each other body and soul . . .

From the lighting of a Yahrzeit candle to the drawings by the children of Terezin, Hirsch longs for transcendence in art and in the troubled history of his faith. In “The Hades Sonnets,” the ravishing series that crowns the collection, the poet awakens full of grief in his wifes arms, but here as throughout, there is a luminous forgiveness in his examination of our sorrows. Taken together, these poems offer a profound engagement with our need to capture what is passing (and past) in the incandescence of language.

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Edward Hirsch has published five previous books of poems: For the Sleepwalkers (1981), Wild Gratitude (1986), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Night Parade (1989), Earthly Measures (1994), and On Love (1998). He has also written three prose books, including How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999), a national best-seller, and The Demon and the Angel: Searching for the Source of Artistic Inspiration (2002). A frequent contributor to leading magazines and periodicals, including The New Yorker, DoubleTake, and American Poetry Review, he also writes the Poets Choice column for the Washington Post Book World. He has received the Prix de Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, and a MacArthur Fellowship. A professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston for seventeen years, he is now President of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

From the Hardcover edition.

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J Dianne, February 27, 2008 (view all comments by J Dianne)
Hirsch's command of form and person are masterful in Lay Back the Darkness. The poet successfully contrasts personas of a diverse and noisesome multitude, while living in the skin of the one-- the persecuted Jew, a citizen of the middle-east, a child, an immigrant elder. And although I am not someone who usually admires an emotional piece, several of the poems in this book evoke that anguished Human wail: As childrens' drawings spill from a suitcase. While a demented elder searches-- for something. And then --the poet observes --the line! This book is worth adding to a collection, and I predict it will be read, studied, and sometimes quoted.
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Product Details

Hirsch, Edward
Knopf Publishing Group
American - General
Single Author / General
Poetry-A to Z
Single Author / American
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.42x5.88x.36 in. .37 lbs.

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Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

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