The Blueing Hours moves from darkness to light – the reader moves from passion to doubt to the struggle to survive intact – in a brilliantly structured book which carries the reader to dawn. This isn’t surprising, for here is a poet who does not want to trade Earth for Heaven or Hell. Al DeGenova is betting everything that the objects of this world – flawed or not – are charged with meaning, that we humans need more than some elusive transformation into perfection. He rejects facile romanticism or the forgiveness that nostalgia offers. This is a book launched by the extension of the night: jazz clubs, neons, poetry readings, bar noises. DeGenova takes his readers from the red hours, the black hours to the blueing hours. He does not have to re-invent the color wheel, but rather use it to keep the world from the false dictionary of black and white. He is a generous poet for, like the many visionaries of Chicago (including Carl Sandburg and Gwendolyn Brooks), his insights are our insights. He makes us wealthy in a currency about soul, life, passion. One word at a time, one heartbreak at a time, one rescue at a time.
“This cross-generational riff eats colors like an angel, drawing the shadows from institutionalized cages and illuminating the hard-edged bullet-holed dreams and memories our lives are built from. What emerges strides on its own power across the open spaces of America’s wilderness, from our urban alleys to New Mexico’s sere mesas…a father playing the blues for his son while his son looks long into the notes leaping also from his fingers into the green neon night.”
-Jared Smith, author of The Graves Grow Bigger Between Generations.
cover photo by Herb Nolan