“One of the finest poets of the last fifty years.” —Salt
to the Nth, like the truth of an ending
unskeined across the crust of the white field.
Though it happened only once, I
am sending the thought
of the thought
To return to
the field before the mowing.
When a goldfinch swayed
on a blue stem stalk,
and the wind and the sun
stirred the hay.
—from “After the Mowing”
Cinder: New and Selected Poems gathers for the first time poetry from across Susan Stewart’s thirty-five-year career, including many extraordinary new poems. From brief songs to longer meditative sequences, and always with formal innovation and exquisite precision, Stewart evokes the innocence of childhood, the endangered mysteries of the natural world, and deeply felt perceptions, both acute and shared.
“Stewart explores our insatiable desire to remember and make meaning out of this remembering,” Ange Mlinko writes in The Nation. “Stewart’s elegiac bent has broadened, over time, from the personal lyric . . . to what might be called the cultural lyric. Fewer and fewer of her poems reference what she alone remembers; they are about what you and I remember.”
Reading across this retrospective collection is a singular experience of seeing the unfolding development of one of the most ingenious and moving lyric writers in contemporary poetry.