Paul Friedrich, a poet who is also a professor of anthropology, linguistics, and literature, begins this collection with Thoreau’s claim that the “narrowness” of his experience confines him to talking about himself. But Friedrich’s way of talking about himself, like Thoreau’s, means talking about others–people whose sad and happy moments he has witnessed, poets he admires, places and communities in the United States, Mexico, India, and Europe of which he has become a part, to which he has lent his voice. This is a book of a passionate, empathic, and compassionate traveler, a solitary voice with remarkable social depth, a book that had to be poetry. It will be a discovery for those familiar with Friedrich’s studies on Aphrodite or on music in Russian poetry; and it will be a delight for lovers of poetry who have not heard this voice before.
cover art: “Flood,” by Dale Pesmen (2004)