This new collection from acclaimed novelist and poet Judson Mitcham features poems from the last twenty-five years, including forty new works and poems from his previously published collections, "Somewhere in Ecclesiastes" (1991) and "This April Day" (2003). Wise, witty, and deceptively plainspoken, Mitcham's poems show how the moments that truly save us--that make us human--are necessarily the most fleeting. It is up to us, he reminds us, to create meaning from those moments, and in doing so to create our own salvation.
The transitory nature of human experience is both the boon and the bane of the existence of the speakers in these poems, and every poem seems to recognize its own temporality, trying to find meaning rather than a definitive answer to the questions it raises. The tone of these poems combines a strong sense of humor with a pervasive feeling of loss, both celebrating and mourning that "a true note is still so hard to hit." These voices revel in the human condition even as they are often saddened by it.
While Mitcham's background and settings are distinctly southern, his interests extend far beyond the regional. He intimately understands the problems and the people of the South but recognizes that these are, above all, human problems and human beings. His poems evoke Flannery O'Connor, Otis Redding, the Bible, and the Baptist Church, but they also respond to Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, and the death of Jacques Derrida.