What wondrous poems are these

James Crews's poetry is at once ecstatic, skeptical, and hopeful.

Occasionally, I read a debut poetry book and want to grab everyone I know and tell them to read it, too. Vermont poet James Crews’s collection is one such book. These poems react to the world both ecstatically and skeptically, revealing a longing for permanence—of life, of love—in a life marked by transience. The book skips back and forth between spirit and body, eternity and the ever-shifting nature of time and the moment, dwelling on relationships—especially with the poet’s father, but also with his husband, former lovers, God, and the earth. Readers who enjoy the work of Richard Wilbur, Robert Frost, John Donne, Ted Kooser, Mary Oliver, and W. H. Auden will find a kindred voice in Crews’s work.

Crews’s touchstone poem, “Human Being,” introduces themes of lightness and heaviness, contained within the “human” and “being” aspects of a person:

The human part of us
wants and needs and breaks,
but the being part sees
beyond the body’s aching
joints and joyful noises
to the open road ahead.