This collection of poetry by West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman explores the difficulty of living with an awareness of the eventual death of all living things. Each of its four sections suggests a coping mechanism for this inevitable predicament, from storytelling, to accepting darkness and death as a creative force, to enjoying disruption and chaos, and finally to embracing the mystery of life as the most triumphant story of all.
These difficulties come “not quite haphazardly” and not without a “last light”—something “beyond” and as “sweet as apples.” With these moments of grace, Harshman taps into the satisfying richness that comes from unexpected revelations, helping us rise above the fragile recesses of life and death, all while portraying the lost rural worlds of the Midwest and Appalachia in ways untouched by sentiment or nostalgia.
Marc Harshman is the poet laureate of West Virginia. He is the author ofGreen-Silver and SilentandRose of Sharon. His thirteen highly acclaimed children’s books includeThe Storm, a Smithsonian Notable Book. He is the host ofThe PoetryBreak, a monthly show for West Virginia Public Broadcasting.