As the title of The Not Forever suggests, these poems take not only mortality, but also the impossibility of truly assessing mortality, as their endlessly inexplicable subject. Keith Waldrop’s language is, by turns, wry, brazen, brilliant, humorous, sorrowful, and entirely unforgettable as he focuses upon all that cannot be absorbed by the logical mind’s measure of aging and loss. Waldrop is a master at discerning what is recognizable within the “not” of our attention whether it is an attention to the future, the past, or to that instant we call the present, which is the most impossible to grasp. His canny meditations make the particulars of daily life shine with an uncanny brilliance as he assesses the quintessentially human inability to exact knowledge from the existence that we live, as well as from the inexistence that we each are veering toward. A major force in American avantgarde poetics for decades, Waldrop gives us an emotionally compelling, intellectually demanding articulation of what living in full awareness of the “not forever” means.