There is a clearing by a certain stone
where images flow and are worth stopping for.
I have stayed there almost all day in silence
until night remembered what belonged to it
and its shadows started to take back its own.
I’ve found it hard to walk away as starlight
infused daisies and the stone itself began
to feel like a star so, although what I have done
with my life may not be much, for a while
it seemed to be in line.
The poems of In Late Light situate objects and experiences (both large and small, concrete and abstract) within Brian Swann’s perspective of the natural world. Sixty-two poems presented in four sections explore his lifefrom early days to the presentevoking friends and family on two continents. His sharp, bright imagery affirms the unique beauty of our world and explores its invisible mysteries.
About the Author
Brian Swann is the author of several collections of poems, most recently Autumn Road, winner of The Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award and Snow House, winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Pleiades Press/LSU Press.
Table of Contents
For an Anonymous Thrush
A Typology of Birds
II. Opening the Dark
Land of Flint
Opening the Dark
The Obsidian Mirror
The Drowned Boy
Night sky with Figures
III. Ghost Dance
Rag and Bone
Longinus on the Bowery
Over the Moon
IV. Making It Out
The Whistlet and His Dog
Making It Back
Making It Out
How I Understand Eternity
What People are Saying About This
This various and vital collection in which articulate engagement with the sensual stuff of the natural world coexists with philosophic riffs on the meaning of night scents, stars, fireflies, and even family history is a brave, various, adventurous book that reveals with the tang of clear, immediate speech a poet in the fully earned maturity of his powers.
D. H. Lawrence’s feeling for families and Basil Bunting’s precision meet in these poems 'sharp as chipped chert or fer de lance.' A postwar English childhood and Catskill seasonal inventories frame a wiry, impish, affecting life review, rhythmically akin to the Italian poetry Swann has translated, and marking a personal summit. 'The mountain is a pattern that whirls.'
Brian Swann is a magnificent poet. His new book, In Late Light, is striking for its largeness. He discovers universal truths in a bird’s call, or in a remembered family scene, and he makes us perceive them as well. His style is lyrical, passionate yet restrained, immensely knowledgeable and yet attuned to common speech and always revelatory of the human heart.