Kirkus Review for Featured RHP Publication

“Hays creates an environment that’s heavily influenced by the writing of poets that … forged our contemporary understanding of poetry. The book opens with ‘Inscriptions,’ … epigraphs, setting the tone for what’s to come—elegiac proclamations about the natural world, the oneness of man with nature, and the unpredictability of passion. … [T]he poet’s incorporation of epigraphs to launch his poems is … helpful to situate the persona’s framework. … Hays then divides his book into three sections. In ‘Great Are the Myths,’ he uses a series of references to explore what constitutes a literary character. … [R]eaders … navigate poems … like amorphous iterations of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. … The second section, ‘Song of Myself,’ spins off of Walt Whitman’s famous title to provide readers with a more contemporary voice that resonates for readers living today. … The work … shines in the … contemporary language of the second section, … ‘I scout the sky / for the approaching clouds, / our stoic supporting cast— / artists / staggering in with hangovers / after a hard day’s night / to droop around and glisten glib lines.’ … When the text gets more personal, … the poems burst with story. … Finally, the third section, ‘Song of the Answerer,’ functions as a reflection on love and how it helps shape identity and language. … A collection of poetry that spans centuries but that remains fixed in a single moment … (‘and it is none / that can live / and die and live / again / but man ungiving, / man, I, plantless’). … Hays’ project has promise.”

— Kirkus Reviews

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