"I have always sought a poetry that ...can include the public events of our time and do so in a way that makes them at once contemporary and unavoidably linked with humanity's long and troubled history." - John Haines, Preface. Poet and essayist John Haines has forged, in his long career, a body of work noted both for its austere lyric beauty, anchored in the solitude and spaciousness of his early years as a homesteader in the Alaskan wilderness, and for its penetrating responsiveness to the human condition. The generous selection of poems in "For the Century's End" conveys, in form and substance, the singular and exhilarating power of Haines' poetry of the past decade, underscoring his role as one of the major writers of our time. "I am the one who touches fire,/ who rakes the leaves to watch them burn," Haines writes in his introductory poem.This subtle yet vivid juxtaposition of the temporal and eternal is characteristic of the book's method and unwavering passion. Organised into five sections, the poems in each group arc from the mythic to the personal, as does the central, twelve-part poem "In the House of Wax". Their journey incorporates both anguish over the state of the present-day world, and an abiding, forward-looking spiritual resolve. Individual poems deal with subjects as wide ranging as the cave petroglyphs of the ancient Chumash Indian culture of southern California to contemporary explorations of outer space and our attempts to find some new ground in the solar system. Throughout, Haines taps into an ancient environmental wisdom that links us all.
About John Meade Haines
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Published January 1, 2001
by University of Washington Press.
Literature & Fiction.