“Filled with sharp irony and passionate insight, the more than 100 poems in the collection span the career of one of the deans of contemporary poetry. . . . Ammons makes you laugh and forces you to think hard about the way humans relate to natural phenomena and to themselves. From such simple, short expression emerge complex, often confounding ideas. New readers of poetry as well as those with an active interest in lyric verse will love this volume.”—Booklist
The best short poems return much more than they demand, and these insightful brevities culled from 40 years of Ammons's work require a steamship to haul their pleasures home to the reader. Rarely venturing beyond a terse tenth line, they encompass wit (``It's hard/ to live/ living it/ up/ down''), paradox (``I have nowhere/ to go and/ nowhere to go/ when I get/ back from there''), koan -like mystery (``What lightning/ strikes/ in an/ instant/the boulder hums/ all year''), and an unusual understanding of nature's processes and politics (``The reeds give/ way to the/wind and give/ the wind away''). Perfect for those who claim no time for poetry, this can be savored in bits or in batches. Hope and expect to spot it frequently at subway stops and luncheonettes.-- Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib.