Summer Snow: New Poems

Ecco: HarperCollins. Jan. 2020. 192p. ISBN 9780062950024. $27.99. poetry;.
In “Patches of Snow in July,” former U.S. Poet Laureate Hass sets up the image that is central to this poem and to the collection: “the way the white patches of snow in the saddles of bare rock between the/ massive peaks glittered in the sun undid me.” As he remembers seeing leftover bits of melting snow in the Sierra Mountains, he associates the memory with various people who are no longer alive with the poem, then suggests how he was moved (“undone”) by the persons he is elegizing. Nearly all of these poems refer to someone Hass has known personally or professionally, with one of the most evocative poems referring to his parents. Hass infuses his work with numerous references to nature, which tend to fill out the portrait of the deceased: “death’s song is the color of wet violets.” Although there are a few haikulike poems, most of the collection is composed of longer prose poems.
VERDICT Overall, this collection of elegies has a pleasing, conversational tone (despite the morbidity of its subject), as if Hass is reading nature not to glean a message but to hear and see what nature has to say. For all libraries.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing