Saturn, its frozen rings fire-white,
reflecting the sun from a billion miles.
Maybe there’s a word in another language
for when distance dissolves into time.
How are we changed when we stand out
under the fat stars of summer,
our pores opening in the night?
(from “The Rings of Saturn”)
In her newest collection, Ellen Bass’s deft poetic touch and piercingly intimate voice continues an ongoing exploration of life’s essential question: how do we go on?
“There is such a sense of ritual and such a clarity of purpose. . . . I found it so powerful and complex . . . She is a poet with terrific power.”—Philip Levine
“The way Bass brings together the humble and the luminous in this elegant book sets it apart and makes it thrilling. Good poets help us to see the world in a new way; great ones open the mind to new ways of conceiving that world and our connections to it. Like a Beggar does this for me.”—Toi Derricotte
“Call her a midwife, call her a priest, if you’re from Berkeley, call her a life coach: in some way her poems talk us through it. She has a radiant, capable heart, a sense of humor, and knows her art. Reading her poems fills me with respect and gratitude.”—Tony Hoagland