Thomas Reiter's Catchment abounds with stories brought to life. From memory, myth, and imagination comes a faith in the power of poetry to bear witness. Here we find a variety of personae engaged in dutiful labor ranging from gardening to tomb repair. The lore of occupations centers these narratives and dramatic lyrics, and the texts range widely in time and place, with settings in the Caribbean islands, with their colonial and postcolonial realities, their multiform history, culture, and topography; the Midwest of the pioneer era as well as of the poet's own childhood; and the New Jersey Pine Barrens. These poems, inclusive of so many perspectives and voices, enter wide sweeps and strong currents of history, not to generalize or point a moral but rather to render moments in the lives of people caught in the effects of time's passing. Reiter is drawn to portray those who hold their lives together in spite of adversity, even calamity, who simply--profoundly--go on. Passionate, authoritative in tone and detail, Catchment embodies a vision in which art comes out of a necessity to repair the world.
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