A Year of Last Things: Poems

Knopf. Mar. 2024. 128p. ISBN 9780593801567. $28. POETRY
There is something familiar and comforting in Ondaatje’s poems, a kind of common sense that calls to the reader and invites them to consider when and where they might have seen, or felt, or feared anything like the poems describe. This is Booker Prize winner Ondaatje’s 12th volume of poetry, though he is best known for novels like The English Patient. The verses are rich in imagery, yet quiet and contemplative in their observations. Nothing feels forced or imposed; always the poems feel like invitations to contemplate the moment, the truth, the magic of the actual. Ondaatje has a gift for drawing the mythic and the immediate together into a momentary memory of everything caught in the flickering glow of what might have been.
VERDICT A powerful, thoughtful collection of observations and contemplations; a beautiful and valuable addition to the world of poetry by one of its most inspiring writers. Readers who love the work of W.S. Merwin, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, and Louise Gluck will want to savor this new collection.
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