After One and Waking established Tom Sleigh as one of the most original and accomplished poets in contemporary America. In The Chain, Sleigh explores the nature of memory—its uncanny ability to recast events in contradictory ways as it links individual lives to history. The poet reveals the ways in which the individual consciousness, alternately resisting and embracing its ancestral legacy, seeks to transform, in order to comprehend, the meaning of cultural inheritance. In a series of elegies, portraits, and love poems, he movingly dramatizes the ambiguous nature of truth and the difficulties the moral imagination must overcome in recalling, understanding, and judging the past. The publication of The Chain confirms Tom Sleigh's place among the most imaginative, unpredictable, and formally sophisticated poets of his generation.
"Tom Sleigh's precision marks him as the diamond cutter of poetry; his verse has a tense musicality, and his ability to convey exact emotions, even the state of consciousness itself, is unerring."—The New York Times Book Review, Notable Books of the Year, 1990-1991