Classic meets contemporary in James Richardson’s ninth collection. Writers from Bashō to Hardy, from Merwin to Porchia, inspire meditations on everything from artichokes to cosmology that somehow morph into fables of limitation and desire. This “new poetry made the old way” takes seriously the task of lightening and illuminating our experience, and especially, of distilling it. As Richardson writes, “The road not taken also would have gotten me home.” More than sixty poems of ten lines or fewer, and two sequences of Richardson’s trademark aphorisms and “ten-second essays,” are set alongside surging lyric meditations and odes. For Now celebrates nows of every length, from the sweep of cosmic evolution, to the span of a life, to the glint of dew on a cold shovel.
“Richardson is an unsung genius, America’s great living aphorist and a poet of profound compassion, wisdom, and humility… In long meditative lyrics, haiku, koans, and lines of shining brilliance, Richardson says a quiet, love-filled goodbye to every minute, and I find myself, reading this book, standing right beside him.” —NPR
“In an anxious time, readers will find welcome consolation in Richardson’s poise and empathic relationship with the things of this small world.” —Library Journal
“[Richardson’s] books are, in my view, some of the most beautiful produced by any American writer of the past few decades; they contain echoes of many poets distributed throughout many countries and centuries, yet they always sound contemporary, as if they were written last night—or ten years from now.” —Zyzzyva