All We Saw
In All We Saw, Anne Michaels returns to poetry with strikingly original lyrics to explore one of her essential concerns: "what love makes us capable of, and incapable of." In this passionate, piercing short collection, dedicated to the late Mark Strand, Michaels explores "love's dare / love's repair / a single stitch." In lyrics that ponder what happens to the bodies of lovers — so vital when together, different when apart, death coming to one before the other — she embraces both the intimacy and the vastness of the connection between two people. The complete and sheltering understanding of a great love is a powerful presence in all the poems, with its particular imagery (the ringing fog, the white page of the bed), as is the shattering loss of its end.
Lyrics of various forms and two longer poems explore desire in a style chaste, spare, figuratively modulated, calm and almost classical in its precision. By the book's end, we are left with a renewed awareness of the mystery at the core of our astonishing lives. With Michaels, we enter a space that is "not inside / nor outside: dusk's / doorway," where memory might be kept alive. (From McClelland & Stewart)
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