These strong and well-crafted poems quicken with a sense of life, capturing the human spirit in its nighttime incandescence. As all his
work has shown, Hirsch is a poet of many facets and great sophistication, and here he draws from his Eastern European roots and Chicago
upbringing to invite us into his world. He writes in homage to all those "conscripted into the brotherhood / of loss," including an elegy to
victims of torture in Latin America and an apocalyptic evocation of the devastating European plague of the fourteenth century. But always
Hirsch returns to the emotional substrate of his family, from his sister's Little League tryouts to his grandmother's creaky Murphy bed ("It
was like putting the night away / When we closed the wooden doors again"). With its dusk meditations on family, art, and history, this is a
book about posterity, about what gets passed on and what gets lost in time.
For years I fell asleep to the rhythm
Of my grandfather's voice rising and falling,
Filling my head with his lost, unhappy poems:
Those faint wingbeats, that hushed singing.