A major collection of entirely new poems from the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author of Time and Materials and The Apple Trees at Olema
A new volume of poetry from Robert Hass is always an event. In Summer Snow, his first collection of poems since 2010, Hass further affirms his position as one of our most highly regarded living poets. Hass’s trademark careful attention to the natural world, his subtle humor, and the delicate but wide-ranging eye he casts on the human experience are fully on display in his masterful collection. Touching on subjects including the poignancy of loss, the serene and resonant beauty of nature, and the mutability of desire, Hass exhibits his virtuosic abilities, expansive intellect, and tremendous readability in one of his most ambitious and formally brilliant collections to date.
In this ruminative, endlessly clever book, Pulitzer Prize winner Hass (The Apple Trees at Olema) turns his eye toward nature, love, and even drone strikes, as, when chronicling a visit to a Las Vegas Air Force base for a protest, he juxtaposes the specter of commerce at a nearby casino with headlines detailing drone-related deaths in the Middle East. Though death may be the prevailing theme, these poems are far from dirges, as images of his Northern California environs shimmer with life: "you can almost hear the earth sigh/ As it sucks up the rain." Hass experiments with form, vacillating between long and short lines, stanzas and long unbroken blocks of verse. His language is lofty but accessible, as in "The Archaeology of Plenty," a loose, associative riff about finding meaning in a callous and capricious world, in which the poet argues for poetry as a cure for existential dread: "reach into your heavy waking,/ The metaphysical nausea that being in your life,/ With its bearing and its strife, its stiffs,/ Its stuff, seems to have produced in you,/ Reduced you to, and make something with a pleasing,/ Or teasing, ring to it." Hass is a rarity, a poet's poet and a reader's poet who, with this newest endeavor, bestows a precious gift to his audience.