These are powerfully original poems about the sweetness and pain of adulthood and fatherhood by the critically acclaimed poet Dan Chiasson.
A child’s improvised game of “Where’s the moon, There’s the moon” is the shaping metaphor for this collection, but adult matters of seeking and finding, loss and recovery, anticipation and desire’s uncertain rewards are at its heart. Chiasson makes poignant use of objects and nature’s givens as correlatives for our human struggles: “Being near me never made anyone a needle,” he writes in “Thread,” and in the poem titled “Tree,” “All day I waited to be blown; / then someone cut me down.” In the title sequence, a multipart poem about fathers and sons, Chiasson describes the ways the gift for being absent, a poet’s gift, is passed from father to son, as he watches his own children sink into the enigmatic silences that mimic his own—silences that he, in turn, connects with his own father’s disappearance from his life.
Chiasson is a poet of great grief and love. In this third book, his voice is more commanding than ever, embracing the notion of how small—yet how rich and significant—are our individual stories in time and space.
Read the title poem in The Paris Review.
Dan Chiasson was born in Burlington, Vermont, and was educated at Amherst College and Harvard University, where he completed a Ph.D. in English. His first book of poems, The Afterlife of Objects appeared in 2002. A widely published literary critic, Chiasson is the author of One Kind of Everything:Poem and Person in Contemporary America. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a Whiting Writers’ Award, and teaches at Amherst and Wellesley colleges. He lives in Sherborn, Massachusetts.
Meet the poet on his book tour.