- “Remarkable. . . . With astonishing formal and emotional clarity, in language at once delicate and bold, Hamilton renders afresh enduring questions of time, love, and literature as measures of our individual and shared lives.”—The New Yorker
Who becomes familiar with mortal
illness for very long. I was a stranger, &c.
Not everyone appreciates it, no
one finds being the third person
becoming, it’s never accurate,
and then one is headed for the past tense.
Futurity that was once a lark, a gamble,
a chance messenger, traffic and trade, under sail.
The boy touches your arm in his sleep
for ballast. It’s warm in the hold. Between
ship and sky, the bounds of sight
alone, sphere so bounded.
The central suite of poems vibrates with a ghostly radioactive attentiveness, with care unbounded by time or space. Its impossible charge is to acknowledge and ease suffering with a gaze that both widens and narrows its aperture. Lightly told, told without sentimentality, the story is devastating. A mother prepares to take leave of a young son. Impossible departure. “A disturbance within the order of moments.” One that can’t be stopped, though in these poems language does arrest and in some essential ways fix time.
Tenderness, courage, refusal, and acceptance infuse this work, illuminating what Elizabeth Hardwick called “the universal unsealed wound of existence.”
- “Extraordinary. . . . [All Souls] is a dramatic rendering of Hamilton as both a writer and a reader, a rhapsodic conversation between her library and her life.”—Declan Ryan, Poetry Foundation
- “Full of delicate and muscular truths and graced with rare intelligence, this posthumous volume offers the gifts of a uniquely sensitive mind.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
- “[Hamilton's] meditative mode offers a deliberately slower and more languorous way of experiencing the signature whetted angularity, emotive compression, and deep intellect of her work. . . . Reading these poems after the poet’s death proves that while poetry cannot stop the journey or change the destination, it does have the power to preserve the mind at its most alive.”—James Ciano, Los Angeles Review of Books
“These works are worldly, intimate, domestic, and mortal. It's remarkable how much Hamilton makes of so little; if only all our lives were this rich in particulars recorded in detail. . . . How admirable the composure of the line, the principled refusal to imagine the end possessing more gravitas than something so ordinary as waking.”—Michael Autrey, Booklist