by Joseph Bottum
St. Augustine's Press, 2022
eISBN: 978-1-58731-816-0 | Paper: 978-1-58731-815-3
Library of Congress Classification PS3602.O886S67 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.6

The poetry of Spending the Winter is musical and structured, whimsical and piercing, begging to be read aloud when one is not laughing or arrested by an image that hooks the heart. “Poems so severely beautiful that they become unforgettable after one reading,” writes one poet. “A throwback to a time when lovers of poetry…looked for poetry of depth, wit, and craft from the likes of Auden and Larkin,” adds another. With sections of comedy that show his wit, translations that echo his vast reading, and formalist poetry that reveal his craft, Bottum aims, in the way few poets these days do, at memorable lines and heart-stopping images as he seeks the deep stuff of human experience: God and birth and death—the beautiful and terrifying finitude of life. “We do with words what little words can do,” he writes. But in Spending the Winter, Joseph Bottum shows that words can do far more than a little.

“Poems so severely beautiful that they become unforgettable after one reading. . . . If you’re a reader who loves poetry whatever mood it’s in, just open Spending the Winter anywhere to find poems that hurt, enlighten, and delight.” —Rhina P. Espaillat, author of Rehearsing Absence and winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize

“Joseph Bottum is a brilliant formalist, and to read him is to enter the world of the tried-and-true classics, all achieved with an amazingly contemporary ring. His Spending the Winter is a delight. Here is a poetry of elegy, humor, wit, political savvy, and vast learning.” —Paul Mariani, author The Great Wheel and winner of the John Ciardi Award

“Joseph Bottum’s Spending the Winter is a throwback to a time when lovers of poetry outside the literary establishment looked for poetry of depth, wit, and craft from the likes of Auden and Larkin. This is poetry from another age—an age when we expected intellectual, religious, and literary significance from our verse.” —A.M. Juster, author of Wonder and Wrath and winner of the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize

Spending the Winter is a word-lover’s dream: Joseph Bottum’s poems pierce, probe, dazzle, and delight. They will open the eyes of your soul.” —Karen Swallow Prior, author of On Reading Well

“When reading Spending the Winter, I recalled C.S. Lewis’s description of joy as a wanting for something that is beyond this world. There’s a sense in these poems that things around us are fleeting, yet for that reason, the poems ask us to pay all the more attention.” —Jessica Hooten Wilson, author of Giving the Devil his Due

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