With this, his first collection of poetry, Stephen Kuusisto (author of the memoir Planet of the Blind) explores blindness and curiosity, loneliness and the found instruments of continuation. Exploiting the seeming contradiction of poetry’s reliance upon visual imagery with Kuusisto’s own sightlessness, these poems cultivate a world of listening: to the natural world, to the voices of family and strangers, to music and the words of great writers and thinkers. Sensually rich and detailed, Kuusisto’s poems are humorous, complex, and intellectually engaged. This collection reveals a major new poetic talent.
“Ultimately, Kuusisto’s meditations on his condition, and gratitude for the mind’s inner eye, remind readers that vision takes many forms, and that feelings of being lost and alone are intrinsic to human nature.” —Booklist
“A powerful writer.” —New York Times
“I have been searching for some of his poetry since I read Planet of the Blind. He is a gifted and sensitive writer.” —Erin Malone, from a “Reader Comment” card
“In [Kuusisto’s] poems, works of spare and musing beauty… each word is set as carefully on the page as a footstep blindly taken in an unknown place… Music is a constant presence, and the tenuousness of being, a feeling made all the more daunting by sightlessness, is a steady preoccupation. But Kuusisto’s poems are exquisitely visual, too, even as the poet moves ‘through space / With hands outstretched.'” —Booklist
“Though [Kuusisto] calls himself ‘a fool of the night seasons’… these poems… are filled with light, with careful and startling images, and with a fine appreciation for the senses.” —Foreword
“Copper Canyon is putting out some stunning verse… and Only Bread, Only Light is a wonderful addition to their catalogue. It’s a fine book, full of Kuusisto’s careful writing, love for images and supple, capable language.” —Ithaca Times
“Kuusisto’s poetry is spare, reflective, with an intense quality of listening to the world.” —Splendid E-zine