Into the Ruins: Poems

Contents & Selected PoemsEarthrise Press, 1999; 2021 Edition. Preface. Cloth, soft cover, ebook editions. 73 pages. eISBN: 9780982677810. Bookshop

Beyond Postmodernism, probing the nihilism of the age, Into the Ruins confronts much of the human experience left out of the balance by postmodern poetry, often compared to the Alexandrians and the Neoterics, when writers similarly concentrated on the minor themes of personal life, while ignoring the challenging experience of the public realm. Suffused with a global tragic vision, into the ruins of the 20th Century, Glaysher has his gaze fixed firmly on the 21st.

"At high points, his poetry captures the feelings of contingency and horror felt by many but expressed well by few.... Glaysher fits well within the literary tradition, as he shows with his allusions to or mentions of, among others, Augustine, Dante, Yeats, Dostoyevsky, and Hayden; however, his voice is distinct. Among contemporary poets, few have a vision as darkly haunting.... Few also have the knowledge and the ability to handle contemporary issues with such presence of language. Out of the mass of recent poetry books, here is one you should read." William Allegrezza, Jack Magazine 

"I will definitely be checking out more of his work in the future (Parliament of Poets looks good). This book deals with many of the horrors and terrors of the long 20th century, and in many ways chastises the poets of this period for not finding an effective way to confront that horror.
"...this book is quite good. It is well laid out, and does what so few collection of poems do-- that is build an argument or overall claim. There are short pieces that deal with the visceral horrors of conflict, relying on powerful imagery, and then longer drawn out philosophical pieces that culminate what Glaysher has been saying.
"The result is a collection that makes shorter, powerful jabs, followed by a prolonged punch. The reader is therefore left with the power of the poetry as the poems build on each other in rapid succession. Well written, thought out, and containing a clear purpose, I highly recommend Into the Ruins and look forward to reading Glaysher's other works." —Wes Bishop, Goodreads 

More reviews.... 


Preface ix

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters 3
Midnight Visitors 4 (online at A Little Poetry)
The Pit of Darkness 5
Danse Macabre 6
Locusts 7
Camp II 9 (online at A Little Poetry)
Gulag Wayfarers 10
Oracle Bones 11
Heartland America 12

Into the Ruins 15
Old Baltimore 20
Rodin’s Gates of Hell 21
Hibakusha Nightmare 24
Advent of the Beast 25
Raskolnikov’s Dream 26
To the New City 27
Long Journey Through Night 29
The Crowned Maitreya 30 (Chaminade Literary Review 1995)
Carnelian Blemish 32
Leader of the People 33
Vignette 35
Chairman of the Board 36
At a Mass Grave 38
Wild Goose Pagodas 39

A Conversation on the Forum 43
Mud-Wrestlers 47
Derrida in Doubt 48
The Looking-Glass 49

Elijah Lovejoy 53
Woodrow Wilson 54
Eleanor Roosevelt 55
Albert Einstein 56
Dag Hammarskjold 57 (online at A Little Poetry)
Homage to Mark Tobey 58
Elegy for Robert Hayden 59 (Empyrea 1980)

To Penelope 63 (mediterranean poetry April 2010)
Intimations 64
Kagi 65
Basic Training 66 (Chaminade Literary Review 1991)
A Visit to Aunt Amy’s 67
Leaving the Old Country 68
The Dream 69
The Dark Wood 70
Chamber Music 71


From Preface

...far from withdrawing further into the self and into an obfuscating use of language, poets must turn to viewing and contemplating the real world, where men butcher and kill, love and hate, aspire and sometimes achieve. For out of our experience and contemplation of the past and present, a deeper understanding of history and of what it means to be a human being is now beginning to emerge, opening the way to a new future, in a new century. W. H. Auden once wrote that radical change in artistic style is contingent on "radical change in human sensibility." The unrelenting movement of modern times toward the oneness of humankind has sufficiently been made explicit—an epic movement that allows, produces, and requires a fundamental change in sensibility.





Midnight Visitors

Mainly indistinct faces circling
in front of me in the abyss of night,
but at times I see a Cambodian
next to a neatly stacked pile of skulls,
a Jew staring from a crack in a boxcar,
an African, more corpse than man,
faltering through a desert that is as
desiccated as the landscape of our soul.



Basic Training

At last I was going to get 
to meet Uncle Benny, who lost 
a leg in World War II. 

I dashed up Grandma’s stairs 
clutching a surplus canteen, 
showed him I had one too. 

Laughing he taught me how 
to put it on and dandled me 
on his wooden knee. 



Dag Hammarskjold

No more of these sad tones
of fear and the scourge of war,
of chaos and anarchy,
of the passions of humankind.

Though the first movements wander
among the dark and threatening
conflicts of Beethoven’s Ninth,
the "Ode to Joy" shall come.

All the millions will unite
as brothers, surrendered
to the way of peace,
to a higher synthesis of joy.


Copyright (c) 1999 Frederick Glaysher



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