Human Wishes

Robert Hass, Author Ecco $17.95 (86p) ISBN 978-0-88001-211-9
In his third collection of poetry, Hass ( Praise ), National Book Critics Circle Award winner for criticism, writes elegiacally of the ``dizzying sensation'' of physical experience, and of natural beauty, ``casual and intense,'' to which words correspond but from which they are innately divided. ``A man thinks lilacs against white houses . . . and can't find his way to a sentence,'' Hass reflects, observing the suffusing ``radiance'' of bodily perception and impelled to evoke it as faithfully as possible, though language inevitably alters what it describes. The transience of the physical, perceived in the ``mortal singularity of the body,'' heightens the quiet drama of the poet's mission, represented powerfully in poems conveying that ``life has its limits''--most poignantly in love, where men and women ``are trying to become one creature, / and something will not have it.'' Feeling that they ``are an almost animal, / washed up on the shore of a world,'' and seeking their completion, humans, in Hass's subtle, searching meditations, must follow the course of their own implacable rhythms, whatever utopia they wish for. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
Paperback - 96 pages - 978-0-88001-212-6
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