An acclaimed poet finds moral and spiritual connection in this fierce, dexterous volume.
Balancing emotional openness with formal restraint, April Bernard proves once again a poet who “harmonizes the raucous and the classic, the songful and the wry, the courtly and the quick” (Wayne Koestenbaum). Throughout her sixth collection, Bernard searches for “the world behind the world,” a spiritual realm of justice and peace, music and grace. The host of saints present in this parallel world includes poets—John Ashbery, Thomas Wyatt, Gerard Manley Hopkins—as well as folklore spirits, animals wild and domestic, and personal ghosts.
Mystical, daring, expertly crafted, and ironic, The World Behind the World embarks on a wide-ranging journey through memory and loss to reach “that other world, where nothing human can wreck us.” Along the way, the poet conjures lush woodlands and icy oceans, wry conversations with voices from the past, and transformative moments of reckoning and healing. Rising up from despair, anger, and grief, this powerful collection proposes a moving, personal faith.
About the Author
April Bernard is the author of five previous poetry collections and two novels. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. The recipient of a Walt Whitman Award, the Stover Memorial Prize in Poetry, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Whitney Humanities Center, she lives in Upstate New York and teaches at Skidmore College and the Bennington College MFA writing seminars.