With clarity and precise detail, Dan Masterson creates a narrative of how we live, love, and die. In blank verse and rhymed stanzas, in free verse and taut lyrics, he delivers the story of a woman trap ped in an avalanche, a husband daring himself to death in an ocean swim, or a son arranging the final affairs of his parents. There is always an edge to Masterson’s characters—they are everyday people, but we meet them on the one day when the stakes are highest.
He holds a reverence for the particulars of a place, for gardens and homes, for dresser drawers and work benches, for cabins in the Adirondacks, ponds, tree houses, and ornamental stones. The leavings of loved ones—strong boxes, pajamas, rosaries—are passed on as relics that both heal and trouble. In Masterson’s world, characters learn how to lose, how to change, and even how to survive their most painful memories.
Selected from thirty years of work, and including an eclectic selection of new poems, this book unfurls Masterson’s full canvas of abilities: his penchant for startling descriptions, his keen insight into our nobility and fallibility, and his skill at making us live his poems.