Synopses & Reviews
Intensely Emotional and Bitingly Witty Poems about Grief, Family, and Joy
Elton Glaser's ninth book of poems is haunted by the loss of his wife, each April bringing back the memory of her death. The opening line confesses the struggle to find a language for this grief: "I'm learning to speak in the accents of adieu." As the book progresses through the seasons, it evokes the places that remind him of their times together, in the South of their youths, in the Midwest of their long marriage, and in their travels here and abroad. And yet there is also another strain that keeps breaking through, the particulars of joy in family and the natural world, grandsons and "swaggering lilies," and a swan like "a sullen bride in her white finery." With an irrepressible wit and a music that enlivens his lines in both celebration and elegy, Glaser never forgets that, as Wallace Stevens said, "Memory without passion would be better lost."