The World Behind the World: Poems

April Bernard

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Belletristik / Lyrik, Dramatik


An acclaimed poet finds moral and spiritual connection in this fierce, dexterous volume.

Balancing emotional openness with formal restraint, April Bernard proves once again a poet who “harmonizes the raucous and the classic, the songful and the wry, the courtly and the quick” (Wayne Koestenbaum). Throughout her sixth collection, Bernard searches for “the world behind the world,” a spiritual realm of justice and peace, music and grace. The host of saints present in this parallel world includes poets—John Ashbery, Thomas Wyatt, Gerard Manley Hopkins—as well as folklore spirits, animals wild and domestic, and personal ghosts.

Mystical, daring, expertly crafted, and ironic, The World Behind the World embarks on a wide-ranging journey through memory and loss to reach “that other world, where nothing human can wreck us.” Along the way, the poet conjures lush woodlands and icy oceans, wry conversations with voices from the past, and transformative moments of reckoning and healing. Rising up from despair, anger, and grief, this powerful collection proposes a moving, personal faith.

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folklore, grace, poets, women authors, despair, united states, justice, spirituality, us, american, animals, peace, music, grief, saints