by Larry Watson
Larry Watson vividly animates the world of memory, as you might expect from an accomplished fiction writer, but the language here also exhibits the ear and lyrical dexterity of a fine poet. The evocation of place and multi-generational sweep are impressive, but reading these poems aloud you’re also struck by the subtle braiding of memory and music. There’s a poetic voice both distinctive and familiar, a clarity graced by timely sleight of speech. These are well-crafted poems, elegiac, humorous, and all the more effective because they seem to rise naturally from the people, places, and events depicted here.
–Max Garland, author of The Word We Used For It,
and former Poet Laureate of Wisconsin
What wonderful—by which I mean full of wonder—direct and powerful poems these are! Each one is a clear arrow-shot to the moments that keep us moving as well as keep us up. There are memories here, personal and intimate, which I hope will speak to every reader the way they spoke to me, as if Larry Watson knows my own life as well as his, and used his questions to make my own life more clear. I am deeply impressed with this work. From making soup from snow to a memory of little league to an unexpected anniversary present—even the hardest of these poems are honest and observant love songs.
–W. Scott Olsen, author of Prairie Sky and A Moment With Strangers
Larry Watson is a renowned fiction writer, so it’s not surprising that his poems are full of great stories (a man brings “electricity to his farm/to save moths from his own candles”), but they also deliver knockout lyric turns and strains of melancholy music. As my Swedish grandmother might have put it, these poems are just plain good: so accomplished that each one feels inevitable, like an object in the real world. Late Assignments, Watson’s first full-length collection, was worth the wait.
–Angela Sorby, author of The Sleeve Waves, Bird Skin Coat and Distance Learning