In his poem “Afterward,” James Applewhite imagines a curious Eve in the Garden of Eden, her eye falling upon a twisting river and an S-shaped snake before she eats from the tree of knowledge, choosing change over stasis. Applewhite’s new collection, Time Beginnings, displays his keenly observant mind focused on the ever-varied natural world and considers the place of humans within it. In these philosophical poems, the slow creation of new planets in the farthest reaches of the galaxy mirrors the development of single-celled Earth organisms whose “first awareness . . . foretell[s] a consciousness / of self, the life lived knowing of death.”
Meditating upon topics as far-ranging as the movement of photons in the heart of the sun and the single drop of blood on the finger of a girl holding a rosebud, these poems explore deeply the mysteries of the galaxies and the complexities of being human.
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.