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Love's Last Number: Poems
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From celebrated poet Christopher Howell, Love's Last Number is a series of musings on time's arrow: on both the relentless march that divides each moment into past, present, and future -- before and after -- and the ultimately porous and recursive nature of time itself. A soldier remembers limes and curious children in Portugal. Refugees cross a dangerous land, and find each other in love. Boy scouts play war in devastating ways, a child listens to a baseball game in a more innocent time. In this multiplicity of voices and tones, the collection reflects on what we, as humans, do about memory, love, grief, war, and the search for meaning. In its sinuous sequences, Love's Last Number insists that life -- and history -- are a continuing crisis of faith, imagination, consciousness, and moral clarity. And yet these poems, like existence itself, offer moments of transcendent joy and sudden hilarity: laughter against the darkness.
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About the Author

Christopher Howell has published ten collections of poems. He teaches at Eastern Washington University, where he is also director of Willow Springs Books, and director and principal editor for Lynx House Press. He lives in Spokane, WA.

Reviews

Praise for Love's Last Number and Christopher Howell: "In these gemlike meditations on love and time and the human condition--and so much more--Christopher Howell's vision is nearly mystical, his music is almost entirely uncanny. To read these pieces is to experience what Owen Barfield called the "felt change of consciousness," or poetry pursuing poetry's highest calling. His poetry alters the way we might view our brief time here on Earth, by expanding it, by giving us glimpses into the secrets of existence itself, by making meaning. But, of course, because he is such a gifted poet, Howell approaches this enormous task through the senses, via the small things, and in language that's both mesmerizing and plain-spoken. There is a distance in this tone that is all about clarity, and a proximity that is all about intimacy, humility. This is a book you'll read in a sitting, and then return to all your life."--Laura Kasischke, author of Space, in Chains "For nearly four decades Christopher Howell has so ably been marrying the miraculous to the mundane; the invisible world to the here-before-our-eyes; the wacky to the expectable; the meditative to the pratfall-prone; the immediate to the ghost-ridden; and the mirthful to the elegiac--and marrying them with authority."--Albert Goldbarth, author of Saving Lives "Whether against history, against aliens, against new chances, against every future, we human beings cannot quite get it right. And yet, these poems. Something. However improbable, and though they sacrifice themselves to the effort, we are offered some light. These are affecting, visceral offerings, leading us improbably forward. In these offerings, one could easily argue that we are quietly drawn into an entire book of war poems, demonstrating the abidingly cruel relationship between human beings and the inexorable. It is a circumstance so quietly and powerfully vivified time and again: 'The soldiers are through listening / and after awhile the tea is cold.' These poems give rise to so much emotion it can barely be contained, defining us all--and this book--as such small but incredibly necessary lights amidst a great, historic and personal wall of so much--'the pneuma of hope's tiny bells.'"--Alberto Rios, author of The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body "Once there were prophets, seers walking among us, seemingly more recognizable, welcomed, even feared. They knew the things we did not know, the truths we long for all our lives and would give our lives to know. They knew love's last number, the degree to which we hold each trembling and monumental day. Christopher Howell is our own prophet-seer. He knows the numbers of infinite angels dancing on infinite pins. He knows the stars within the stars within the stars within the skulls. He knows this wrong and shining world the way a boy comes to know it when forced by a teacher to write 'Dreaming makes us stupid' over and over on a chalkboard, when he knows already that dreaming is the god that makes us free. These poems are great gifts. They contain multitudes of Whitmanesque wisdoms. These poems read as what our fathers would say to us after they are dead and gone. These poems are necessary. They are essential."--John Hodgen, author of Grace

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