The four parts of this highly accomplished collection showcase the different facets and wide breadth of John Wood's poetic talent. Displayed here are his ability to sustain a sequence, his adeptness with lyricism and the short form, and his sensuous feeling for this life and the life of the past.
In regard to the latter, Wood begins the book with his poetic account of the amazing life and adventures of the vigorous American utopianist Wilhelm Johannes Hoade. Wood's account reads like a novel as he weaves a fictional narrative out of lyric poetry, a narrative that is finally convincing and true in spite of its obvious impossibility.
The second section, “Homage to Dafydd ap Gwilym,” is a free but artistically faithful translation after some of the medieval Welsh poet's major poems, arranged in a way to suggest in a natural/supernatural mode his remarkable character and biography. The third part is a group of finely tuned, mostly lyric poems dealing with family, friends, and intellectual concerns; the fourth is a group of contemporary and historical “revelations,” quite striking in scope and variety. All combine to form a dazzling whole.