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A Fierce and Tumultuous Joy

A Fierce and Tumultuous Joy

It was night,
It was winter
In the heavy window frost
I saw falling angels splinter

In this collection of deeply personal poetry, David Adams Richards offers readers both his searing observations of and profound sympathy for those he writes of, be they his own family or animals, like the “dry doe” who will soon be at the mercy of the coyotes. He captures the soul of winter in a crisp, evocative description: it is a time when “the snow begins to fall at four, / And a dead cold has entered in the bones.” Equally, though differently, captured is a snapshot of life at fourteen, when he and his friends were “Young lonesome firebrands / Cigarettes aglow in the summer weather.”

Here, too, are indictments of war and comments on Catholicism and faith, as well as retrospective examinations of his own past, of past relationships, and moments lost in time. Richards comments unflinchingly on the poet’s life (the poet as soldier, as gunslinger), of his origins in Newcastle, New Brunswick, and his love for Peg at seventeen. In each poem, he crafts a vision and carefully cradles emotion in his writer?s hands for the reader to feel and hold themselves. Ultimately, Richards assures us, our soul will be free and will “sing for eternity.”