The poems in Sand Theory, William Olsen’s fifth collection to date, bristle with intellect, sensitivity, and ambition. Engaging poets from William Blake to Theodore Roethke, Olsen takes aim at grand questions of spirituality, the instability of meaning, and the individual’s relationship with the natural world. Yet Olsen’s lithe and sinuous poems wear their metaphysical concerns lightly, shifting easily between the immediate perceptions of a passing moment and observations offered as if from a great distance, outside of time and space.
The energy of Olsen’s poems is generated by his ability to meld the intellectual and the emotional, the abstract and the concrete, into a seamless whole while maintaining a sense of wit and playfulness. Sand Theory cements Olsen’s standing as one of the most vital poets writing today, an audacious chronicler of “the supremely open moment.”