This is an open book in two senses of the term.
It is open because it is a work in progress. Over the years I have tinkered with most of these poems many times and have revised some of them quite thoroughly. Their publication here does not mean I am done with them.
Yet there are some poems which I have not altered in years, not because they are perfect, but because they reflect my intention at the time I wrote them. Just because I have changed into a different man with the passage of years does not mean I should expunge the traces of my earlier self that these poems represent.
So this open book is a collection of the poems I happened to choose for publication at this time, in the form I happen to prefer at the moment.
This book is open in another sense, however. Since the days of Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, poetry has been steadily dying as a public art form, because poets, taught to value obscurity and difficulty, have labored to make their verse less and less accessible to untrained readers.
I see little point in creating verse that has no readers except a tiny club who have learned a private code.
Anyone can be obscure -- all you have to do to achieve obscurity is to write incompetently.
To be clear and yet also say something worth saying is what I believe poets should strive for. The first reading should reward the reader. If later readings reveal new insights, so much the better; but if the first reading did not achieve Dryden’s recipe of sweetness and light, why should a reader return for a second pass?
— Orson Scott Card
[from publisher's web site]
Contents: I: Hunger, Love, and Death -- Walking on Water -- Short-Lived Creatures -- Echo -- Grain of the Wood -- Of a Private History -- This Is the Poem I Made Then -- I Go Out the Door -- The Man Who Came Back from the Lunar Colony -- Declaration -- At the Recital -- On Hearing My Daughter Emily Perform -- Elves -- Light and Shade -- 5 A.M. -- Rapunzel Summons the Prince -- In Touch -- My Son in Love -- Barbarians -- Browning, Cummings, Tennyson -- To One Not Poisoned Yet -- To Alice, Recently of Wonderland -- How Do You Know You Love Me? -- Lovers Do -- In Winter I Wrote Love Poems -- Hands -- Old House -- Old Mother -- Grandfather Is Home from Seattle -- He Died of Cystic Fibrosis at 24 -- Prayer in the ICU -- Grandma in the Corner, Dying -- O Hurried Guest -- A Poem for Erin's First Christmas -- Worlds Might Stumble -- When -- Of My Beloved Son -- II: Apocalyptic Verses -- Tin Men -- On Another Road -- Myrtle Beach -- If I Hadn't Overturned the Stone -- Dog and Bear -- Winter of Wishes -- Judge -- One Will Be Taken -- Broken Kings -- Hordes -- Outside the Ark -- Potion for Immortality -- From a Spirit to the One Possessed -- Warning to the Long-Haired Woman -- Redeemers -- Fire at the End of the World -- Point Most West -- No Snow White -- Mammon -- Needle -- III: Wholly Writ -- Corn Is the Soil Song -- Last Supper -- Slight Bread -- If Jesus Wept -- Holy Moments -- John 4:14, 15 -- Unremarkable They Grow -- Is Prophecy a Gift? -- Jacob Smith of Somerset -- Openings -- Thou Whose Hand Is Ever Light -- Deep Slow Illness -- All That the Earth Can Yield -- Afterword