Carolyn Forché is one of America’s most important contemporary poets – renowned as a ‘poet of witness’ – as well as an indefatigable human rights activist. Her later collections are visionary works drawing on work written over many years: The Angel of History (1994), Blue Hour (2003), and now In the Lateness of the World (2018), which is only her fifth collection since her debut in 1976.
Her meditative poetry has a majestic sweep, with themes ranging from life on earth and human existence to history, war, genocide and the Holocaust. Jane Miller called Blue Hour ‘a masterwork for the 21st century’. According to Joyce Carol Oates (New York Times Book Review), Forché’s ability to wed the “political” with the “personal” places her in the company of such poets as Pablo Neruda, Philip Levine and Denise Levertov.
‘Carolyn Forché makes a complex voice for all the mute victims of our destructive world as the killing goes on and the patterns of our lives continue our committed self-destruction. Hers is the heroism which still cares.’ – Robert Creeley
‘Part of poetry’s tragic knowledge is that elegy is endless. Yet in its power to recall and to memorialise, elegy also effaces time and reinvests loss, the lost, with life. It is a form of overcoming, essential to our knowing of, and dwelling in, the present and to our becoming human… Carolyn Forché is one of the contemporary masters of that form, that act’ – Michael Palmer
‘Again Carolyn Forché hovers above the lacerated landscape of history filling the holes “between saying and said”. Blue Hour does not console but emboldens. The fear we share is never dodged. This singular voice is writ in bone, snow, coal, stone and sorrow.’ – C.D Wright