In his newest book, National Book Award finalist Carl Phillips creates a shadowy inner landscape where the field is the heart, and the heart itself has a beautifully, often treacherously flawed darkness that each of us seeks to penetrate, believing in the possibility of light. Examining how to fill and fulfill the life granted us—how to realize the self entirely, and in time—these rhythmically sequenced meditations circle the predicaments of our longing against the backdrop of pastoral tradition. How do we balance control and abandonment when making poetry, as well as in making a life with another person? How do we reconcile fleshly desire and spiritual intention? Tightly coherent, emotionally nuanced, Pastoral both enlarges and defines Phillips’s already impressive poetic territory.
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