Poetry by Samuel Hazo
Reading To Paris, Samuel Hazo’s newest book of poems, is an act of exploration, a search for an American-ness that can be felt in one’s self only while abroad. And what is discovered is not the alienation born of internal exile but a widening sense of humanity defined by tensions between time and place: now and then, here and now. “The Paris in this book,” Hazo explains, “is not merely a matter of geography, it is also what Paris means in history and, above all, what it can be imagined to mean. Call it the Paris of the mind or even the Paris in the blood—a certain freedom for the arts, for poetry, for life itself regardless of contradiction or even of consequence. In this sense To Paris for me is both a directional signal and a toast.” Here then are honest and courageous poems whose straightforward cadences are attuned to the familiar modulations of American speech. Hazo’s voice, in the words of Archibald MacLeish, “has found the ease to speak the ’You’ who is both ’He’ and ’I’”––reminding us of what we always knew about ourselves but had forgotten to remember.