In this powerful collection, James Applewhite searches the world, from the back roads of his own American Southeast to the antiquities of Europe, for an expanded awareness of history. Time itself, these poems seem to say, is wholeness, the communion of generations, and it is in history, whether of the world, community, or our own families, that we find the locus of our common yearnings.
Lucid, conversational, and utterly compelling, Daytime and Starlight presents through an array of perspectives the ephemera of memory—comic strips, love letters, newsreels, popular music, Greek and Roman statuary—and juxtaposes them with a flawless instinct for the telling detail against contemporary notions of evolution and cosmology. A half-remembered chiaroscuro of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr on the beach, the haunting familiarity of figures in a Renaissance tapestry, the vision of air “green with evening”—in such brief suspensions of time, love and beauty balance regret and loss. Time and again, in poem after poem Applewhite strikes a clear, bell-like tone of affirmation: “We’re all in this together.”
A prolific poet, James Applewhite was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2008 and is professor emeritus in creative writing at Duke University. He has received the Associated Writing Programs Contemporary Poetry Prize, the Jean Stein Award in Poetry from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry.
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