On the occasion of Sandeen’s death in 1997, former Poet Laureate Robert Hass said in an interview, “what I love about [Sandeen’s] poetry is the way it has a sort of sweet gravity to it that makes you feel that the poet was a genuinely wise man. You feel that in his craft as much as in anything else, that the poem says what it needs to say, so that not needing to show off is a form of beauty. There is a kind of seriousness and grace.”
Collected Poems 1953–1994 offers personal and powerful insight into life’s greatest triumphs and tragedies. Meditating on topics such as old age, love and eros, mortality, politics, society, religious faith, and birth, Sandeen delves into the ordinary, inevitable, incomprehensible facts of life. Readers who have followed Sandeen’s work over the decades will be pleased to find his poems once again in print. New readers will discover a poet who cannot fail to delight them.
“The poems of Ernest Sandeen among other things record not only a writing life but a life in writing: a history of the hours when reflection turns to discovery, and observation finds its fulfillment in the rhythms of a sentence, the weaving of consonants through a line, in pursuit of a mystery. Few poets have been blessed with the gift to sustain that process of meditation, composing, and questioning so consistently, and for so long, in works that are clear-eyed, passionate, and precise.” —Robert Pinsky, from the Foreword