These “poems for men” make a companion volume to Mermaids in the Basement. Included are new and previously out-of-print poems for lovers, friends, and fathers.
Your body tolls the hour,
The hands spin round and round.
Your face, the focus of light,
Will burn me to the ground.
Losing ourselves in love
Beneath this counterpane,
Unwinding from its womb
To the all-consuming now,
All day today I die,
I die eternally,
Losing myself in joy.
By one touch you put out time.
“We have no finer poet writing today, and very few her equal.” —San Francisco Review of Books
“One of the best poets around… a national treasure.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“The poems in this collection… ring joyously in the ear and the memory… Kizer’s mastery, grace, charm and wit make this a perfect book.” —Publishers Weekly
“Brightly intelligent, intimate, and beautifully crafted, both the new and older poems take on added meaning and emotional resonance by Kizer’s artful arrangement… This volume sums up and stands as testament to Kizer’s gifts as an artist and as an extraordinary human being.” —Booklist
“Carolyn Kizer’s latest book of poems is enormously satisfying… Her poetic forms are disciplined, her images and rhythms deep and compelling, multidimensional and multisensory: Oh, this is fine stuff!” —Elizabeth Mische John, St. Paul Pioneer Dispatch
“Carolyn Kizer writes a poetry of many mansions… The Nearness of You puts us in touch with a great deal of life through a great deal of art. Carolyn Kizer is big; she’s our lioness, our Minerva.” —Richard Silberg, Poetry Flash
“I marvel at Kizer’s technical skill and inventiveness. Her fondness for wordplay, puns, and extended conceits… Kizer’s extraordinary insouciance and confidence can make one forget her compassion. She is able to capture the excessive, sentimental foolery of a happy drunk seeing the world in a mug of beer… or to mourn ‘gentle heroes’ of good conscience… Kizer is loving, smart, and as tough on herself as she is on others… In its size, integrity and finesse, her canon is comparable to Bishop’s. For these reasons, as well as for her blithe spirit and rigorous mind, Kizer deserves our esteem and readership.” —Alice Fulton, Poetry
“Whether she works in Elizabethan song forms, or in imitation of Japanese or Persian forms, Kizer’s voice is always strong, and her poems durable.” —Elliot Bay Booknotes
“The Nearness of You is a compassionate and accessible book of poetry. Maybe if the world could write about love as [Kizer] has done, we wouldn’t be so everlastingly angry with each other.” —Karen Randlev, San Francisco Chronicle