Walt Hunter has figured out how to strike a lyric pitch in a time of disillusionment. Grimly aware of menace, his poems “work/ to remember the future’s trashed.” At the same time, they croon, they snarl, they recycle pop tunes, they swerve into abstraction and aphorism, they think out loud. Most of all, they remind us what it is to feel, asking “… What is it // That they’re hacking to death down here/ called love?” A fiercely intelligent book.
Some Flowers is an original in the earliest and now most necessary sense of that word. In these poems, Hunter imagines the actual earth and weathers of language back to their origins in first substances and first light--their Edens, if you will. And quite wonderfully, this imagination succeeds in vivid company; the canons of the art chime in; the shimmer of love inspires. And yet all of Some Flowers is accomplished in the most effortless and welcoming idiom I have read in a very long time. This is a book to keep near and to believe.
Hunter’s deep understanding of pastoral traditions allows this book to take up the specifically lyric disorientation of our changing climate. Grieving both ecosystems and systems of meaning-making but persistently delighting in the human intimacy granted by nature, these poems reveal the high stakes involved in our most local acts of perception. To read Some Flowers is to see through an eye in the perpetual act of refocusing on a landscape that is by turns familiar and terrifyingly new.