Early Hour is a book-length sequence inspired by German Expressionist Karl Hofer’s 1935 painting (Frühe Stunde) of the same name. Between two bodies, a wild, surreal, and at times erotic landscape blooms—even as it is fractured. Michael McGriff’s sustained meditation forms a lyrical backcountry imbued with desire and cultural anxiety. These poems are an ode to Eros in a world unraveling.
“Look, as an effete urban intellectual I don’t know a bucket of chicken guts from a Buick’s engine block. But I know Real Poetry when I read it; and it’s richly seamed through every tunnel we can possibly mine through this book.” —Albert Goldbarth
“He’s plunging into the depths of some underground waterway in the American psyche—what’s happening to the environment, what’s happening to jobs, what’s happening to families—and rising to the surface to show us the debris.” —Jeff Gordinier, New York Times
“McGriff’s vision of blue-collar life is one of complication and contradiction, and the poems he makes are authentic, unwavering, and unapologetically American.” —Judges’ citation, Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, 2007
“An intriguing, frequently affecting experiment that challenges its readers to think anew about sharpening and refracting their memories of both life and art.” —Kirkus Reviews