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A new poetry collection of uncanny grace and moral force from one of our country's most celebrated poets Over four decades, Carolyn Forché's visionary work has reinvigorated poetry's power to awaken the reader. Her groundbreaking poems have been testimonies, inquiries, and wonderments. They daringly map a territory where poetry asserts our inexhaustible responsibility t A new poetry collection of uncanny grace and moral force from one of our country's most celebrated poets Over four decades, Carolyn Forché's visionary work has reinvigorated poetry's power to awaken the reader. Her groundbreaking poems have been testimonies, inquiries, and wonderments. They daringly map a territory where poetry asserts our inexhaustible responsibility to each other. Her first new collection in seventeen years, In the Lateness of the World is a tenebrous book of crossings, of migrations across oceans and borders but also between the present and the past, life and death. The poems call to the reader from the end of the world where they are sifting through the aftermath of history. Forché envisions a place where "you could see everything at once ... every moment you have lived or place you have been." The world here seems to be steadily vanishing, but in the moments before the uncertain end, an illumination arrives and "there is nothing that cannot be seen." In the Lateness of the World is a revelation from one of the finest poets writing today.


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A new poetry collection of uncanny grace and moral force from one of our country's most celebrated poets Over four decades, Carolyn Forché's visionary work has reinvigorated poetry's power to awaken the reader. Her groundbreaking poems have been testimonies, inquiries, and wonderments. They daringly map a territory where poetry asserts our inexhaustible responsibility t A new poetry collection of uncanny grace and moral force from one of our country's most celebrated poets Over four decades, Carolyn Forché's visionary work has reinvigorated poetry's power to awaken the reader. Her groundbreaking poems have been testimonies, inquiries, and wonderments. They daringly map a territory where poetry asserts our inexhaustible responsibility to each other. Her first new collection in seventeen years, In the Lateness of the World is a tenebrous book of crossings, of migrations across oceans and borders but also between the present and the past, life and death. The poems call to the reader from the end of the world where they are sifting through the aftermath of history. Forché envisions a place where "you could see everything at once ... every moment you have lived or place you have been." The world here seems to be steadily vanishing, but in the moments before the uncertain end, an illumination arrives and "there is nothing that cannot be seen." In the Lateness of the World is a revelation from one of the finest poets writing today.

30 review for In the Lateness of the World: Poems

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    Like many readers of poetry, I fist encountered Forché's work in the early 80s, when she'd returned from El Salvador and was trying to draw U.S. attention to events in that country and our role in them. I've been reading her since then and deeply respect her commitment to a poetry that is effective in terms of both artistry and purposefulness. I keep Poetry of Witness, which she co-edited, by my bedside for falling-asleep reading. (Not that it puts me to sleep—just that I like giving myself over Like many readers of poetry, I fist encountered Forché's work in the early 80s, when she'd returned from El Salvador and was trying to draw U.S. attention to events in that country and our role in them. I've been reading her since then and deeply respect her commitment to a poetry that is effective in terms of both artistry and purposefulness. I keep Poetry of Witness, which she co-edited, by my bedside for falling-asleep reading. (Not that it puts me to sleep—just that I like giving myself over to it in my final waking moments of the day.) Forché, as always, provides witness in In the Lateness of the World. The settings of her poems are geographically diverse. They often focus on individual lives or a shared experience. In the afterword, she describes many of them as having been written for specific individuals, often deceased. These are poems that explore the value and vulnerabilities of human life. My main frustration in reading was trying to fill out the back stories in these poems. Who were they for? What were their settings? Forché immersed me in the feelings of experience, but many of those experiences remained opaque. These poems offer specificity, but also demand that readers come to terms with uncertainty, which is certainly appropriate, given their focus. I often found myself wishing I was encountering these poems at a reading, accompanied by the sorts of small transitional stories a poet shares between pieces, but, ultimately, I'm glad the Forché demanded that I bring my own meaning to them.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Page

    Outstanding! Definitely one of those books I will reread and reread again. Mx. Forché is a poet who uses language as the Universe’s Muses intended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Glenda

    Haunting, timely lamentations in life, memories, and all we grieve.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I never knew ghosts until I starting losing things, people, places, innocences that were hardly noticed until gone. I think some lose these things early on, and they are the ones to listen to, the ones that see the ghosts and name them and set them free. Maybe that is what this poet does in her way, my ghosts, your ghosts, humanity’s ghosts. I am not talking about actual spirits, that some may see or hear, but of the metaphorical ghost that is more a feeling, a sense, a mist you can almost see, I never knew ghosts until I starting losing things, people, places, innocences that were hardly noticed until gone. I think some lose these things early on, and they are the ones to listen to, the ones that see the ghosts and name them and set them free. Maybe that is what this poet does in her way, my ghosts, your ghosts, humanity’s ghosts. I am not talking about actual spirits, that some may see or hear, but of the metaphorical ghost that is more a feeling, a sense, a mist you can almost see, but that rises, always rising, when noticed or accepted. I had such a sense of ghosts in these poems, and not much joy, which is not my usual type of poetry, I am always looking for redemption, transformation; and some of her best imagery is accompanied by her best sadness, our best sadness, our shames and abuses we heap onto the world, trash and war that makes refugees, and some are just tributes and goodbyes to the beloveds, lost. This is my second book of poetry since the pandemic, and it served the purpose of opening the conversation about what we have lost. Who we have lost. The ghosts that will travel with us for a while until they can’t or just aren’t any more. I think we need space for these ghosts and those of us who also know that can’t be the only ones, and these poems open other, if they allow it. Or they are just words. We are living in the lateness of the world, my friends, and this poet vows as if speaking for the countless frontline workers but especially the ones holding the hands of our fellow humans dying alone: “I will see that you arrive safely, my friend, I will get you there.” THE BOATMAN Leave, yes, we’ll obey the leaflets, but go where? To the sea to be eaten, to the shores of Europe to be caged? To camp misery and camp remain here. I ask you then, where? You tell me you are a poet. If so, our destination is the same. I find myself now the boatman, driving a taxi at the end of the world. I will see that you arrive safely, my friend, I will get you there. REPORT FROM AN ISLAND Sea washes the sands in a frill of salt and a yes sound. We lie beneath palms, under the star constellations of the global south: a cross, a sword pointing upward. THE LIGHTKEEPER A night without ships. Foghorns calling into walled cloud, and you still alive, drawn to the light as if it were a fire kept by monks, darkness once crusted with stars, but now death-dark as you sail inward. Through wild gorse and sea wrack, through heather and torn wool you ran, pulling me by the hand, so I might see this for once in my life: the spin and spin of light, the whirring of it, light in search of the lost, You say to me, Stay awake, be like the lens maker who died with his lungs full of glass, be the yew in blossom when bees swarm, be their amber cathedral and even the ghosts of Cistercians will be kind to you. In a certain light as after rain, in pearled clouds or the water beyond, seen or sensed water, sea or lake, you would stop still and gaze out for a long time. Also, when fireflies opened and closed in the pines, and a star appeared, our only heaven. You taught me to live like this. That after death it would be as it was before we were born. Nothing to be afraid. Nothing but happiness as unbearable as the dread from which it comes. Go toward the light always, be without ships. ELEGY FOR AN UNKNOWN POET Listen: bells! You are sheltered once again in the stillness of childhood, where the slow river remains, rain singing from a gutter-spout, wet bottles, misted grillwork. Apartness gathers the music of solitude as if it were a glass viola. Bells ring that are and are not, and the soul is left wandering in the blue night. LETTER TO A CITY UNDER SIEGE Turning the pages of the book you have lent me of your wounded city, reading the braille on its walls, walking beneath ghost chestnuts past fires that turn the bullet-shattered windows bronze, flaring an instant without warming the fallen houses where you sleep without water or light, a biscuit tin between you, or later in the café ruins, you discuss all night the burnt literature borrowed from a library where all books met with despair. A ROOM ...books chosen at random, as our moments are, ours and the souls of others, who glimmer beside us for an instant, here by chance and radiant with significance. HUE: FROM A NOTEBOOK We went down the Perfume River by dragon boat as far as the pagoda of the three golden Buddhas. Pray here. You can ask for happiness. We light joss sticks, send votives downriver in paper sacks, then have trouble disembarking from the boat. Our bodies disembark, but our souls remain. These soldiers are decades from war now: pewter-haired, steel-haired, a moon caught in plumeria. We are like the clouds that pass and pass. What does it matter then if we are not the same as clouds? CHARMOLYPI It begins with a word as small as the cry of Athena’s owl. An ache in the cage of breath, as when we say can hardly breathe. In sleep, we see our name on a stone, for instance. Or while walking in the rain among graves we feel watched. Others are still coming into our lives. They come, they go out. Some speak quietly beside us on the bench near where koi swim. At night, there is a light sound of wings brushing the walls. Not now is what it sounds like. Or two other words. But they are the same passerines as live in the stone eaves, as forage in the air toward night. To see them one must not be looking. SOUFFRANCE It was Joseph who said that for all eternity, Venice would happen only once. You are a ghost then, following a ghost back through its only life. Or as you say now: there were many cities, but never a city twice. SANCTUARY Light pealed, bell-like, through the canopy. Long ago or seems so. LIGHT OF SLEEP In the library of night, from the darkness of ink on paper, there is a whispering heard book to book, from Great Catastrophe and The World of Silence to The Encyclopedia of Ephemera, a history having to do with aerial leaflets... ...the zoetrope disk, also known as the wheel of life, wherein figures painted in a rotating drum are perceived to move, faster and faster, whether dancing, flying, or dying in the whirl of time. THEOLOGOS For a third year, we are living on AERIA THASSOS, island of marble and pines, marble the quietest of stones, pines the first tree after a fire. You may catch birds in nets, the first poet wrote, but you cannot in nets catch their songs. Archilochus MOURNING fishermen setting their nets for mullet, as summer tavernas hang octopus to dry on their lines, whisper smoke into wood ovens, sweep the terraces clear of night, putting the music out with morning light, and for the breadth of an hour it is possible to consider the waters of this sea wine-dark, to remember that there was no word for blue among the ancients, but there was the whirring sound before the oars of the great triremes sang out of the seam of world, through pine-sieved winds silvered by salt flats until they were light enough to pass for breath from the heavens, troubled enough to fell ships and darken thought— then as now the clouds pass, roosters sleep in their huts, the sea flattens under glass air, but there is nothing to hold us there: not the quiet of marble nor the luff of sail, fields of thyme, a vineyard at harvest, and the sea filled with the bones of those in flight from wars east and south, our wars, their remains scavenged on the seafloor and in its caves, belongings now a flotsam washed to the rocks. Stand here and look into the distant haze, there where the holy mountain with its thousand monks wraps itself in shawls of rain, then look to the west, where the rubber boats tipped into the tough waves. Rest your eyes there, remembering the words of Anacreon, himself a refugee of war, who appears in the writings of Herodotus: How the waves of the sea kiss the shore! For if the earth is a camp and the sea an ossuary of soul, light your signal fires wherever you find yourselves. Come the morning, launch your boats. TOWARD THE END In this archipelago of thought a fog descends, horns of ships to unseen ships, a year passing overhead, the cry of a year not knowing where, someone standing in the aftermath who once you knew, the one you were then, a little frisson of recognition, and then just like that—gone, and no one for hours, a sound you thought you heard but in the waking darkness is not heard again, two sharp knocks on the door, death it was, you said, but now nothing, the islands, places you have been, the sea the uncertain, full of ghosts calling out, lost as they are, no one you knew in your life, the moon above the whole of it, like the light at the bottom of a well opening in iced air where you have gone under and come back, light, no longer tethered to your own past, and were it not for the weather of trance, of haze and murk, you could see everything at once: all the islands, every moment you have lived or place you have been,without confusion or bafflement, and you would be one person. You would be one person again.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ellison

    Elegiac. All loss is a memory. These poems count the losses. The first one is especially powerful.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Craig Werner

    I had an odd experience reading Forché's most recent volume. I read poetry for a half hour or so every morning, which means I generally spread a volume over four or five days. With In the Lateness of the World, I had "on" days when I was thoroughly in synch with the rhythms and images and "off" days when I just wasn't tuned in. Which means it's probably about me, not the words. At the same time, glancing back the poems I missed still didn't speak to me. Who knows? Having said that, at about the 3 I had an odd experience reading Forché's most recent volume. I read poetry for a half hour or so every morning, which means I generally spread a volume over four or five days. With In the Lateness of the World, I had "on" days when I was thoroughly in synch with the rhythms and images and "off" days when I just wasn't tuned in. Which means it's probably about me, not the words. At the same time, glancing back the poems I missed still didn't speak to me. Who knows? Having said that, at about the 3/4 point--from "Charmolypi" on--it absolutely caught fire. Forché, just a bit older than I am, is clearly thinking about mortality, her own but more importantly about the commadres and compadres--political and poetic--she's known. The poems I'd start with include "A Room," "Morning on the Island," Light of Sleep," and "Transport." Then "The Last Puppet," "Last Bridge," "Souffrance," and "Sanctuary." I'm going to quote "Charmolypi" (which means Joyful Sorrow, the type of feeling you experience when thinking of a friend who's gone one) in full since for the moment it's taking up a lot of space in my psyche: It begins with a word as small as the cry of Athena’s owl. An ache in the cage of breath, as when we say can hardly breathe. In sleep we see our name on a stone, for instance. Or while walking in the rain among graves we feel watched. Others arestill coming into our lives. They come they go out. Some speak quietly beside us on the bench near where koi swim. At night there is a light sound of wings brushing the walls. Not now is what it sounds like. Or two other words. But they are the same passerines as live in the stone eaves, as forage in the air toward night. To see them one must not be looking.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Murphy

    I'm so happy to be reading this book on Carolyn Forché's 70th birthday! What an absolute treasure she is for the world of poetry. I finished her memoir WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD IS TRUE earlier this year and I hope you will run and read it! It is as beautiful as her poetry. I loved reading this new collection, and it shines with all of Forché's best talents. We are so lucky to have a poet of witness during these times. Some of my favorite lines: Leave, yes, we’ll obey the leaflets, but go where? I find I'm so happy to be reading this book on Carolyn Forché's 70th birthday! What an absolute treasure she is for the world of poetry. I finished her memoir WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD IS TRUE earlier this year and I hope you will run and read it! It is as beautiful as her poetry. I loved reading this new collection, and it shines with all of Forché's best talents. We are so lucky to have a poet of witness during these times. Some of my favorite lines: Leave, yes, we’ll obey the leaflets, but go where? I find myself now the boatman, driving a taxi at the end of the world. Sea washes the sands in a frill of salt and a yes sound. when you walk past, it will not be as if a man had passed, but rather as if someone had remembered something long forgotten and wondered why. Writing is older than glass but younger than music, older than clocks or porcelain but younger than rope. Gone is your atlas of countries unmarked by war, absent your manual for the preservation of hours. They say he is the only owl remaining. I hear him at night listening for the last of the mice and asking who of no other owl. there were many cities, but never a city twice.

  8. 4 out of 5

    G. Lawrence

    Stunning, beautiful, thought-provoking. Please read this. Easily one of the best books I have read this year.

  9. 5 out of 5

    thehalcyondaysofsummer

    Opening lines: ‘These are your stones, assembled in matchbox and tin’

  10. 5 out of 5

    steffi

    Forché carries within her poems the trace of the ghosts she is writing for and towards. Her work lifts this current moment from the debris of history (as this decade turns and there are new griefs and so, new witnesses). Dead you whispered, where is the road? There, through the last of the sentences, just there- Through the last of the sentences, the road-

  11. 5 out of 5

    D.A. Gray

    Occasionally you can attend a reading that is path-altering. I had the chance to hear Ms. Forche read a couple of times in the 80s. Students were talking about and sharing poems from her collection The Country Between Us, and her anthology of Poetry of Witness - Against Forgetting was still to come. Forche spoke of a necessary space between the personal and political where witness poetry emerged – a space made necessary because of the too-narrow definitions that existed. That, in a time when you Occasionally you can attend a reading that is path-altering. I had the chance to hear Ms. Forche read a couple of times in the 80s. Students were talking about and sharing poems from her collection The Country Between Us, and her anthology of Poetry of Witness - Against Forgetting was still to come. Forche spoke of a necessary space between the personal and political where witness poetry emerged – a space made necessary because of the too-narrow definitions that existed. That, in a time when young writers tended toward labels - political or confessional or romantic maybe - helped break the illusion that lives could be so compartmentalized. The poems in her latest collection ‘In the Lateness of the World’ emerge out of this social realm but not without taking a hard look at Western minds that still want to keep lives wracked by war, and our unsavory histories, out of our mind’s eye. The poet shines a light migrations and crossings, and the harm and illusion of insulating ones' self whether in Asia, Central America, Detroit or on the Greek Isles where an overwhelming number of refugees pass. Her work alludes to earliest depictions of war in Western literature, a feeling of intergenerational trauma that overcomes our best efforts to shut it off. In her poem 'Charmolypi,' this grief descends across generations, an “ache in the cage of breath” or a “light sound of wings brushing the walls” (57), being something brought down from Parnassus by Clio the Muse of History, a feeling that catches us unaware as if all the collective loss across generations were still present. The poem exists both as an acknowledgment of public grief but perhaps also as a rebuke for trying to distance ourselves. There seem to be at least two certainties about the desire to wall ourselves off – its futility and our repeated efforts to do it. In ‘Transport,’ Forche provides the reader with a catalog of ways to travel through this ancient land from rickshaws, to oxcarts, to taxis and small trucks. The speaker relates a set of instructions, saying that if the driver ‘struck/a man on foot we should run away before the car / is torched by the crowd and the driver killed.’ The idea of being a bystander collapses and the visions of burning cars invades the speaker’s dreams. Her poem is an answer to the idea of viewing the world from a mythical place of safety – which doesn’t exist. Our likelihood of doing harm diminishes as we stop trying to insulate ourselves – when we ‘go on foot’ (68). Insulating creates a world surrounded by treachery, an area outside the light’s radius that is cause for fear. This is not the world of the poet whose proper work is to illuminate. Work that demands living like ‘the lensmaker who died / with his lungs full of glass’ or the ‘yew in blossom when the bees swarm’ becoming ‘their amber cathedral.’ The cost of this, like the case of the lensmaker, may be fatal but perhaps the reward ‘Nothing/to be afraid’ is greater. (13). Forche, who has introduced so many newer readers to poets of witness such as Lorca and Mandelstam, has devoted much of her poetic life to this idea of illumination and implied the danger of writing from behind barriers. The images here put us in the scenes of atrocity, seeing many of them emerging from history, with Forche acting as our guide saying 'I will get you there' (6).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    I read poetry for its beauty. I read poetry for its truth. "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." Forché’s envoi, if you will, the opening poem, “Museum of Stones," tells us that “These are stones, assembled in matchbox and tin, collected from roadside, culvert, and viaduct, battlefield, threshing floor, basilica, abattoir” Assembled after having been collected. These stones. These words. These moments of history. The assemblages put us in the way of I read poetry for its beauty. I read poetry for its truth. "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." Forché’s envoi, if you will, the opening poem, “Museum of Stones," tells us that “These are stones, assembled in matchbox and tin, collected from roadside, culvert, and viaduct, battlefield, threshing floor, basilica, abattoir” Assembled after having been collected. These stones. These words. These moments of history. The assemblages put us in the way of having been with the collector and then with the artist, the maker, put us in the way of having seen through her eyes the source of the stone before it became something other, a museum piece but something more than that, too, something to be taken down from the shelf and observed to see the glue that has stuck the shards together in the way it might once have been. Ah, the craft. The poet who can write “there were many cities, but never a city twice” such that we cannot but hear the echo of Heraclitus, “You could not step twice into the same river.” Like the great I Am, the iamb exists whether we name it, much less define it, but it’s a treat to read in “Theologos” of its first making out of the backbone – not the jawbone – of an ass. Every poem here is a time capsule of sorts wherein can be discovered fragments of a known and sometimes shared – even if only from a distance – past mixed with other fragments beyond our ken. I tried, I tried to make it last, but in the end I had to “open then to the coming of what comes”.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maik Arnold

    Carloyn Forché's new collection is a prophecy with deep certainty which took seventeen years in the making. It tells different stories about death, darkness, silence, war, and loss. Sometimes, it seems, we can find a certain autobiographical subtheme within the whole book when we read about European cities ("Or as you say now: there were many cities, but never a city twice" (in "Souffrance"). "Travel Papers" collects various experiences and happenings from journeys through modern history and war Carloyn Forché's new collection is a prophecy with deep certainty which took seventeen years in the making. It tells different stories about death, darkness, silence, war, and loss. Sometimes, it seems, we can find a certain autobiographical subtheme within the whole book when we read about European cities ("Or as you say now: there were many cities, but never a city twice" (in "Souffrance"). "Travel Papers" collects various experiences and happenings from journeys through modern history and war of this part of the world. Not all poems are dark and gloomy. While reading "Morning on the Island," I had the feeling I had been there in the scene between the sea and the wind. Furthermore, the poems also speak about massacres, refugees, the disappearance of people, such as in "Exile": "You take the tram to a stop / where it is no longer possible to get off, and he walks / with you until he vanishes, still holding in his own your / invisible hand." Last, but not least, it is the "lateness" of the book itself that brings to light very emotionally charged and touching verses: "...you have yourself within you / yourself, you have her, and there is nothing / that cannot be seen / open then to the coming of what comes." Recommend this book to all poetry lovers who watch out to not only melancholy and sadness but also to all who want to find in the fiercest elegies a beautiful ray of (sun-)light.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    3.5 stars. In "In the Lateness of the World" Carolyn Forché takes us on a worldwide journey, with the setting of her poems shifting from one place to another, from one time to another. And that world is a dark, dark place. Individual poems touch upon a vast area of human experience, like death, war, Holocaust. I think for any poetry fan, this will be a collection worth reading, even for subject matter alone. Forché's style is piercing and often blunt, making you think and contemplate on what you'v 3.5 stars. In "In the Lateness of the World" Carolyn Forché takes us on a worldwide journey, with the setting of her poems shifting from one place to another, from one time to another. And that world is a dark, dark place. Individual poems touch upon a vast area of human experience, like death, war, Holocaust. I think for any poetry fan, this will be a collection worth reading, even for subject matter alone. Forché's style is piercing and often blunt, making you think and contemplate on what you've just read. If not for the feeling of detachment I was experiencing while reading, I would definitely rate this title higher. Despite the subject matter that usually makes me shed tear after tear and relive the lines over and over in my head long after I finished reading, I just...couldn't get into this. And that feeling of connection, of words truly having an impact on me, is my first and utmost indicator of good poetry (of course, good to ME). But that's just my own personal experience and I daresay anyone who is interested in this collection should just see for themselves. Here are some of my favourite passages though: "The living are oblivious to what they are, measuring time as the flickering of day and night." "...must not sleep, not rest, must not take flight, must wake." "to speak is not yet to have spoken."

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Forche guides us through landscapes, often harsh yet beautifully and precisely described, and invites us to join her in bearing witness to memories embedded in these landscapes, and to human capabilities - brutalities, but also the strength to endure and courage to remember. Some are landscapes we'd rather not visit; "This is how the earth, you said, becomes a grotto of skeletons;" and some memories we'd prefer not to hear, and she might prefer not to share "(don't say this)" she advises at one Forche guides us through landscapes, often harsh yet beautifully and precisely described, and invites us to join her in bearing witness to memories embedded in these landscapes, and to human capabilities - brutalities, but also the strength to endure and courage to remember. Some are landscapes we'd rather not visit; "This is how the earth, you said, becomes a grotto of skeletons;" and some memories we'd prefer not to hear, and she might prefer not to share "(don't say this)" she advises at one point - but says nonetheless. Still, her poetry is so engaging we are compelled to read. And re-read. I find each poem in the collection gets stronger on each visit. To bear witness begins to feel like an honor, then (or always) a responsibility. "You will be asked who you are. Eventually, we are all asked who we are." James Baldwin wrote, "Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have." Clearly, in this and her other works, Forche takes that responsibility seriously. And here, we come along. "I find myself now the boatman," she writes, driving a taxi at the end of the world. I will see that you arrive safely, my friend, I will get you there."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Pal

    Carolyn Forché's newest collection of poetry, In the Lateness of the World: Poems, 17 years in the making, further continues her place as "a poet of witness." Forché bears an almost-journalistic witness to the lives of others as she interacts with them, whether in Central America, the Balkans, Vietnam, Greece, or during her remembered upbringing in the Detroit area. Whether she's taking on civil wars, ethnic atrocities, or cultural destruction, she rarely turns the camera's lens on herself to le Carolyn Forché's newest collection of poetry, In the Lateness of the World: Poems, 17 years in the making, further continues her place as "a poet of witness." Forché bears an almost-journalistic witness to the lives of others as she interacts with them, whether in Central America, the Balkans, Vietnam, Greece, or during her remembered upbringing in the Detroit area. Whether she's taking on civil wars, ethnic atrocities, or cultural destruction, she rarely turns the camera's lens on herself to let us see her place in the poem, holding firm to crafting poems that are rich with descriptions of that which is out ahead of her. Born in 1950 into a working-class Catholic family, growing up just up the road from here in Farmington, Michigan, and a fellow alum of Michigan State University, Forché has been a highly-decorated poet, translator, and essayist for over 40 years. Until this book ended up in my hands, however, I was limited to reading her Against Forgetting collection in the mid-1990s. I guess I’ve got some catching up to do.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Scott

    https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres... I’d never heard of the poet before. I chose to borrow this collection because I loved the image on the front cover. I enjoyed the poems; they were well written, engaging and full of lovely imagery which is quite impressive at times. One of the best poems in the collection is the opening one, Museum of Stones. It is quite beautiful and breath-taking. Some of the poems on offer here spoke to me but other didn’t. I enjoyed each poem but some much more than ot https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres... I’d never heard of the poet before. I chose to borrow this collection because I loved the image on the front cover. I enjoyed the poems; they were well written, engaging and full of lovely imagery which is quite impressive at times. One of the best poems in the collection is the opening one, Museum of Stones. It is quite beautiful and breath-taking. Some of the poems on offer here spoke to me but other didn’t. I enjoyed each poem but some much more than others. The collection is a bit uneven.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Roberts

    Carolyn Forché has always been a poet rooted in the history of the world. In this most recent collection, In The Lateness of the World, Forché delivers the world once again—one that is full of the haunting and the haunted. The poems dwell in the mysteries of human suffering and beauty—from issues of environmental and social justice, including the crisis of plastic islands in the sea and the suffering of refugees and migrants to the poet’s own losses—friends, family, lives. The juxtaposition of t Carolyn Forché has always been a poet rooted in the history of the world. In this most recent collection, In The Lateness of the World, Forché delivers the world once again—one that is full of the haunting and the haunted. The poems dwell in the mysteries of human suffering and beauty—from issues of environmental and social justice, including the crisis of plastic islands in the sea and the suffering of refugees and migrants to the poet’s own losses—friends, family, lives. The juxtaposition of the quotidian body and the ethereal soul make this book of poems an essential read. In the Lateness of the World is lyrical and beautiful and necessary. It’s a true masterpiece.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Meags

    The poems are stories in unto themselves, starting with lulling you into an almost fantasy setting before throwing the punch that brings it to relevance in current issues. All the poems speak of history, love, politics, remembrance, and the author's journey around the world. Thanks to Goodreads for the Giveaway where I won this gem of a chapbook and thanks to the publisher for sending me the copy for an honest review!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    So compelling in this moment of time. So well-timed to be reading “Lateness” and The New Yorker article on Forché’s career and writing. Forché writes each poem here as if composing a rich photograph. Intense, vibrant images from a rich palette of words. I read this book slowly over a couple weeks, enjoying one or two of her images each day.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Robert Sharpe

    With some exceptions, these poems read like private poems to individuals that I, of course, do not know. I admire the writing and am a big admirer of the author for many reasons. However, I mostly felt like an intruder when reading.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I had never read any Forché before, but I am very into the poems in this book. They have a beautiful melancholy feeling about them and are full of gorgeous imagery. Will have to seek out more Forché soon.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Hiton

    Another stunning book by the incomparable, Carolyn Forché. This work is prophetic, lush with detail, and full of lessons that measure the reader against a new sense of moralia in a larger worldview than most of us ever get to witness.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zoe Strominger

    The Lightkeeper was mesmerizing but the other poems weren’t compelling for me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kenny Chaffin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Doreen

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dipali

  29. 5 out of 5

    Aine Ogrady

  30. 5 out of 5

    Arlitia Jones

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