Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Poets and Poems: James Sale and "StairWell"

I’ve never said that I’m eagerly awaiting the publication of a new poetry volume or collection. I have said it about a novel by a favorite author, or a new mystery in an enthralling series. Perhaps it’s because poetry has always been something more cerebral or quietly emotional, perhaps.  

Then came poet James Sale and his contemporary epic structured like (and written in open homage to) Dante and his InfernoPurgatorio, and Paradiso, the three parts of The Divine Comedy. Sale began writing what he called The English Cantos in 2017, and the first volume, HellWard, was published in 2019. Then came the COVID pandemic and Sale’s own health issues. 


Four years after HellWard, we now have StairWell, Vol. II of the English Cantos, corresponding to Dante’s Purgatorio. And, yes, I’d heard it was coming. I can now say I eagerly anticipated a work of poetry. I can also say it bully justified my eagerness. StairWell is a marvel of imagination, insight into the human condition, and social commentary. 

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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