Books

the discovery

Turning to the light in dark times

Advertisement

The poems in “The Unfastening’’ (Godine), a new collection from Maine poet Wesley McNair, possess a distinctly New England strain of candor and restraint and a walloping matter-of-factness. “My stepfather lay under his jacked-up car/ When it suddenly gave way and came down on him,” McNair writes in “When They Lay Down.” The lines in this, McNair’s 10th collection of poems, whisper at an understated tenderness, an availability to being moved. These are poems that reckon with time and diminishment, that explore the shadows, that narrate the ways we turn toward and away from loss, and the potential, within the darkness, to locate light. “[W]hen the pond/ accumulates/ the darkness,/ which it loves,/ it challenges your eyes/ to find the light/ that without darkness/ you could not see.”

NINA MACLAUGHLIN