Rich writes, “I believe almost everything I know, have come to understand, is somewhere in this book.” The critically acclaimed poet of 30 books of poetry and prose fills her latest retrospective collection with poems that express an intimate understanding of life, death, and resilience with recurring images of ice, blood, and bodies. The opening poem, “Waiting for Rain, for Music,” dives in with “waiting for tomorrow / long after tomorrow / should’ve come.” This motif of regret builds to resignation in “From Sickbed Shores,” the book’s central poem, which asks, “what is it anyway to exist as / matter to / matter?” While writing of chronic illness, Rich offers wordplay redolent of her caustic wit and black humor and reminiscent of Plath. “Ballade of the Poverties,” a Prévert-like poem deviating in style from the book’s short-line, at times difficult, poems, speaks to timeless themes of injustice and ignorance and ends with the narrator offering the reader a mirror. Rich’s poetry itself is a mirror, reflecting the truths about humanity this discerning poet has come to understand. --Katharine Fronk
Rich is one of the greatest American poets of the past half century...attested to both by the extraordinary power of her poems and by the laurels she's racked up.... the events of our blood-dimmed decade have afforded Rich a subject for some of her strongest material. --Sara Marcus"