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Distributed for Carnegie Mellon University Press

Disturbing the Light

Through the course of numerous books, Samuel Green has established his primary poetic preoccupations, and in Disturbing the Light, he continues to mine them, addressing rituals and work in a small, isolated, rural community; the influence of the past on the present, especially in families; and the nature and evolution of a love that has spanned five decades. Added to these themes is something new: Poems written in response to symptoms of late onset PTSD. Though Green’s Coast Guard service in Vietnam ended in the fall of 1969, memories have returned recently in vivid, disturbing details, amplified by the haunting knowledge that civilians in Southeast Asia are still, today, suffering death and injury from unexploded ordnance left over from that war. A powerful collection that reminds us that our past is always with us, even as we attend carefully to the present, Disturbing the Light is a masterwork from a poet at the height of his powers.  

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Reviews

"Samuel Green writes poems that are as elegant as Shaker furniture, plain in the way the columns of the Parthenon are plain. His poems are unostentatiously beautiful, built of memory and the imagination much of memory is made of. They do not show off, they just matter. Read this new collection and it will help you remember that the best poems, like almost anything else, are also handmade."

Robert Wrigley

“Samuel Green’s Disturbing the Light is a love letter to a hard-earned life, one that traces the long journey of a war-weary soul to a place of love and light. It’s a meditation on family and labor and the natural world that does not avert its gaze from that which must be said. Green has a musician's ear for the timing and phrasing of the line, as one hears in 'What We Do with a Maul,' where '. . . each waiting round / has its beauty and surprise: some odd twist / in the grain where the tree stretched or bent / for light; a sugary pocket of pitch. . . .' Disturbing the Light will transport you with poems that span a lifetime, and, by the final poem, return you to your own—augmented by wonder, tenderness, love, and surprise."

 

Brian Turner

"I've been an avid reader of Samuel Green's poetry for more than four decades, and I can honestly say that Disturbing the Light is by far his best book to date. A stunning gem filled with rich, resonating lyricism, it is a fresh, far-reaching volume that appears to have been conceived in one beautiful sustained burst of illumination, Green overlapping his themes to create a collection of transcendence and celebration so seamless it could well be read as one long poem. This is a superb book, an absolute joy to read."
 

Robert Hedin

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