Say This of Horses
“The physicality of horses and our attachments to them bring out the best in many of these poets, who describe them so tenderly their rippling flesh seems to come alive under our hands. This book is a solid, well-designed, and sometimes daring poetic representation of the history of and human response to horses.”—Dorianne Laux, author, Facts about the Moon
“Horses’ names remembered at a burial pasture; a stud pining for the mare whose kick fractured his cannon bone, a vicious but loved mare sent to auction, a vet’s-eye view of hard foaling, anticipations of dog food—this fine collection explores the heartache of horses along with their grace and their grandeur.”—Linda Woodbridge, Weiss Professor of English and the Humanities, Pennsylvania State University
Containing more than a hundred poems by seventy-four poets of twenty-two nationalities, Say This of Horses represents the abundance of poems about horses that have been written throughout the ages and around the world. Whether probing the ages-old connection between horses and humans, the immediate physical presence of horses, or the metaphysical elements of these magnificent animals, this collection celebrates the horse as what Maxine Kumin calls “our enduring myth, the repository for our love and terror.”
Divided into six sections, Say This of Horses considers horses in a multitude of times and places. “Antiquity” explores the forging of the earliest mythical ties between horses and humans. “Here, Now” places horses in the present, where their physical presence is most acutely felt. “Essence” explores the metaphysical qualities of horses. “Harnessed” contains a selection of poems about horses in war, at work, and in sport and recreation. “Mirrors” shows them as imaginative symbols. Finally, “Lenses” moves into the realm of abstraction and fantasy.
The selections within this far-reaching collection are joyous, moving, erudite, and at times profoundly sad. Poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, W. S. Merwin, Tess Gallagher, Yusef Komunyakaa, Pablo Neruda, Anne Sexton, Wallace Stevens, May Sarton, Jane Kenyon, and James Dickey, among many others, are sure to delight and surprise readers familiar with or just exploring the rich literature on horses.
Contributors include Guillaume Apollinaire, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Donald Hall, Joy Harjo, Imru’ al-Qays, Ted Kooser, Philip Larkin, Pablo Neruda, Rainer Maria Rilke, Pattiann Rogers, Carl Sandburg and William Carlos Williams.