Of Jonathan Galassi's third collection of poems, John Ashbery writes, "Heart-wrenching...The narrator of these poems is aware that 'time is short / you have to live it.'" Left-handed tells the story of a married, middle-aged man who comes to terms with immense changes in his life brought about by falling in love with another man. The poems in this collection are sensitive and searching and explore profound loss and new passion simultaneously. From "Still Life"
At the little lake you knew about we were silent while the bloodred sun rang down the scenic view: white barns and a tree or two in the flyblown water. we would have cracked its mirror with a rock, a branch that might have lifted something muddy to the surface. Instead we kept on staring and the sun set, several times. Somewhere it keeps setting, waits for one of us to still the thread that hums between us, not gossamer but steel.
Galassi has devoted years to the translation of Italian poetry and the influence of that work, W.S. Merwin posits, has been "important in the clarity, tone, and intimacy of [the poems in Left-handed—their candor and elegance."
This book review originally appeared in American Poets.