A timely new collection that sounds themes about the fragility of life and our duty to respect the planet in a time of climate change, from the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whose work “begins in delight and ends in wisdom” (Carrie Fountain)
The work of Carl Dennis has won praise for its “integrity, its substance, and its seemingly effortless craft; and for its embodiment of passionate inquiry” (Times Literary Supplement). The title of his new collection, Earthborn, helps to point the way to its two central concerns: how to find meaning, as creatures of the earth, in lives that are short and frail and destined to be forgotten; and how, as stewards of the earth, to address the need to protect our home from ourselves, from the menace to life posed by our own species. The book succeeds in braiding together a recognition of our limits and of our responsibilities in ways that are deeply moving and revealing.
About the Author
Carl Dennis is the author of 13 previous works of poetry, as well as a collection of essays, Poetry as Persuasion. In 2000 he received the Ruth Lilly Prize for his contribution to American poetry. His 2001 collection Practical Gods won the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Buffalo, New York.
Praise for Earthborn:
“A worthy addition to the impressive catalog of Carl Dennis’s poetry. This is a book that engages and enlarges its readers by making us more alert to possibility and by reminding us that praising—and poetry—is 'a useful calling / Even if no one is listening at the moment' . . . The wondering journeys in these poems—physical, intellectual, and spiritual—reveal Dennis’ capacious imagination and his wide-ranging thinking, gifts that are well-served by his style: seemingly effortless, brilliantly lineated, narrative, free-verse poems.” —The Colorado Review
“A rich exploration of our relationship to nature in a time of environmental instability . . . Dennis’ poems unfold at a relaxed pace, through long lines, considered and meditative, that accommodate a fullness of thought. As he examines both our lesser drives and finer desires, he holds out hope that we can be better humans and custodians of the planet, a sentiment that makes Earthborn a uniquely comforting volume.” —BookPage (starred review)
“In this quietly moving outing, Pulitzer Prize winner Dennis places human feelings under a microscope to reveal their significance . . . What begins with a comic moment turns into a profound discussion of spirituality and stewardship and humanity’s obligations to itself, the Earth, and God. Dennis grants reverence and crystalline attention to each moment; it is a joy to see the world through his perceptive eyes.” —Publishers Weekly
Praise for the work of Carl Dennis:
“Carl Dennis is a poet who has valuable things to say – about faith (or its absence) in the modern world, fear, and regret – in ways that are personal and universal at the same time. . . .His acute observations about the private and public realms reach beyond mere statement to subtle levels of informed art. . . .Dennis constantly surprises.” —Joseph Parisi, in announcing Dennis as the winner of the 2000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize
“The surfaces of Dennis’s poems may seem relatively simple, but always one is drawn beneath that surface to the poem’s real depth, to richnesses . . . his poems help make me more alive, more human.” —Thomas Lux, Agni
“Dennis eases the reader out of accustomed modes and seeing and perceiving, heightening awareness not only of limitations, but of imaginative possibilities of dealing with them.” —Bruce Bennett, The New York Times Book Review
Dennis continues to eschew verbal flourish in favor of ethical force, extending the body of work that by now approaches the status of wisdom literature . . . He reminds us that poetry is not only an aesthetic but also a moral activity. It's another way of thinking as well as feeling, another way to reason through the choices we've made or will make." —James Scruton, Valparaiso Poetry Review
"As George Steiner argues, our ability to articulate that which does not exist, 'the counterfactual,' makes us human . . . and grants us extraordinary power. It is this power that Carl Dennis harnesses in his poems." —Stephen Kampa in Literary Matters