Excerpt of Here at Last is Love

Here at Last is Love officially releases on September 1, but we’re releasing the first thirty pages—which includes Gregory Wolfe’s introduction—a few weeks early for our eager readers. The book is also now available for pre-order on Amazon and our order page. Have at it, folks!

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In place of gold, he sets

A banished life between

Driftwood, and out of fish nets

Roofs his loss with sea green.

Thus lives unexiled, though

Abandoned, stranded, scanned

By the Dog Star only, for so

Based, his poems are his own land.

—Dunstan Thompson, “Ovid on the Dacian Coast”

 

Until quite recently, the life and work of the mid-twentieth century American poet Dunstan Thompson were known only to a dwindling number of literary historians and aging contemporaries. For those few who were acquainted with his story, the narrative had a familiar—even comforting—shape: it was a tragic tale of “rise and fall.” There was Thompson’s rise to prominence in the Anglo-American literary world during the 1940s, followed by his equally sudden disappearance from the scene.

Thanks to the efforts of his longtime partner and literary executor, Philip Trower, and the investigations of a few literary sleuths, a much more complete and nuanced version of Thompson’s story has begun to emerge, leading many of the poets and critics who have rediscovered him to hail Thompson as a lost and unsung American master.

At the same time—even in the early days of this revival—Thompson’s biography and poetry have generated controversy, as will become clear. Among his current admirers there has been a tendency to claim him in the name of a larger cause or worldview. But it is to be hoped that the publication of this book will temper the debate over—and deepen the appreciation of—Thompson’s oeuvre by offering a fuller account of his life and gathering much of his best work written over the course of four decades.

Encountered in a single volume, these poems demonstrate that while there are clear differences in style and subject matter between the two major phases of Thompson’s writing life, there are also unities of theme and expression that have yet to be fully grasped and valued.

Read Full Excerpt Here