West of Midnight (Pulitzer nominated, 2012)
This astonishing collection sweeps from the America of 50 years ago
to the one today.
Though ruthless plutocrats have brought the nation
to its fall, Douskey knows that "even in twilight the land simmers."
He deftly satirizes public hypocrisy and cold pretentiousness -
"and when the old lady got drenched/ by a passing car and when /
your brother got busted / for possession you laughed /
someday someone gonna / cut out your heart / and stuff it in an / olive."
Some poems show bright disinterestedness ("The Crossing");
some, snappy irreverence ("Peace"); some, first-rate cultural criticism
("Charles Ives"); and some, compassion for loss ("The Victims,"
"Facing the Lost,""Eric").
How sweet, still, the passion of love:
If in half-light our bodies meet,
It is like the sky opening,
filling the room with cobalt blue embers.
This book of strong poetry stands out for its rich themes
and its author's modest uprightness in a culture that thinks
integrity is "an arcane idea."
A wonderfully original, distinguished book that embraces our world.
- F. D. Reeve