Over a stream of metaphysically gilt lyrics, Martin Corless-Smith has undertaken to limn the soul within limits of body, time, and interrelation. In conversation with classicism and location, sieving gloss and dross in easeful tune, he has written a continuous verse of grace within our time. In this new work we find him losing and lost yet buoyant in visions.
“From ‘How has it come to this?’ to ‘How can we go on?’ as a sequence the poems move towards affirmation, writing through the breakup of a marriage and the death of the mother, on, into and through a recovery of attention, observation, thought, and pleasure in the world… With their reflections on love, death, and self, the poems in their sequence mirror thought’s attention . . . through resonances quietly drawn from such as Donne, Herrick, Marvell, Pope, Wordsworth. Like the bitter greens from which it takes its name, the book’s astringency is packed with hidden rewards and essential nourishment. Powerful stuff.”