In this exhilarating sweep of philosophical idylls, the poems differ widely in style and subject matter, ranging from soliloquies and laments to eccentric ponderings and contemplations of appetite and art. The book’s epigraph evokes a Faustian contract that is carried forth throughout the book in the tensions between urban and rural, light and dark, moral and amoral action. The collection explores the imperceptible reconciliations that one makes, as an individual, a part of a community and as a conscientious heir to a culture. Valences of sexuality, nationality and literality swirl together and perform a balancing act as the poet pulls back the curtain of “the ineffable pageantry” of our existence.
“Scott Hightower has Marianne Moore’s scissors and Elizabeth Bishop’s spectacles and he has written a book in the spirit of their adventurous precisions.” —J.D. McClatchy
“The most exciting quality of Hightower’s work is its poetic and paradoxical unifying of emotional and intellectual depth with a marvelous quietness. Its lively incidents and anecdotes are grounded, rooted, in meditative awareness.” —Marie Ponsot
“There is a complexity to these poems, an intellectual stealth of craft, awareness and allusion… Like a diviner with his rod, Hightower knows where to look for that hidden flow of feeling.” —Lambda Book Review
“One of the pleasures (and reliefs) of this book is Hightower’s impeccable writing.” —The Journal