In poems that are full of wit, touching, and introspective, as well as formally inventive, we find the poet losing his sight, becoming a parent, and occupying middle age with a sense of calm and inevitability. Hewett draws inspiration from the grand and the mundane, the abjection and joy of creating a vision out of blindness. These poems will change how you perceive the world.
Greg Hewett is the author of darkacre (Coffee House Press, 2010), The Eros Conspiracy (2006), Red Suburb (2002), and To Collect the Flesh (New Rivers Press, 1996)—poetry collections that have received a Publishing Triangle Award, two Minnesota Book Award Nominations, a Lambda Book Award Nomination, and an Indie Bound Poetry Top Ten recommendation. The recipient of Fulbright fellowships to Denmark and Norway, Hewett has also been a fellow at the Camargo Foundation in France, and is Professor of English at Carleton College. He is currently finishing a biography of the film noir actor Thomas Gomez.
“These poems are interested in the contemporary moment so much as it is the site of their reflections. Yet these poems firmly resist nostalgia. Their speaker is caught between the desire to make a record and the insistence that all records fail, and that their failure, the gaps of what’s unseen or unseeable, is interesting and necessary.” —American Microreviews and Interviews
“Throughout Blindsight, the reader is presented with the voice of a poet whose urges to feel and desires to know reflect those universal to humanity. Through his plainspoken language which is, at times, conversational and, at times, confessional we are reminded of our own desires, those things for which we do still burn.” —Cleaver
“The poems are complex, yet simple, resisting efforts at reductionist understandings of what comprises a man.” —Signature
“Questioning the relationship between the transcendent and earthy leads Hewett to a skeptical look at language itself (more precisely, poetic language) as metaphor, the intuiting of similarity between things that first might appear dissimilar.” —Singapore Poetry
“The poems here are so plainspoken you might think them ‘ordinary.’ If they are ‘ordinary,’ though, it is because they speak to the most common and universal urges of a human’s life. But in their spareness, their quiet and matter-of-fact tone, they go way beyond the vision of the farthest telescope, way more intimate than the most powerful microscope. Hewett is a poet desperate to know—that ‘knowledge’ is never cheap and always comes at great cost is of no importance, because if anything this poet mistrusts simple vision. He aims deeper, darker. The stakes are high for this poet and his gamble pays off stunningly.” —Kazim Ali
“I was utterly blindsided by Blindsight, so aurally and intellectually seduced by its prime and primal rhythms and organization that I was unprepared for the ferocity of its content, the ‘divine funk’ of its spiraling queer-otics, the shattered mending of its desirousness, and the profundity of its vision of losing vision. If Wallace Stephens’s spirit object was the wilderness-organizing jar in Tennessee, Hewett’s is ‘a condom, unfurled and full,’ which ‘holds dominion over this satellite world.’ Even in this deeply literary collection, Hewett expresses a renegade distrust of the mechanisms of language: ‘Take blindness as metaphor, / you say, but I say / take metaphor as blindness / deforming life to get at / the idea behind life / tires me.’ Always, he seeks the pulse of the unsayable prime beneath words, the visible vision in ‘blindness deep and far.’” —Diane Seuss
“‘We sense numbers in our breath, / in a line of poetry, a measure of music / running through our heads,’ Greg Hewett tells us. In Blindsight he brings his acute poetic vision to the peculiar power of prime numbers, which manifest in the sinuous rigor of his syllabic lines and the acuity of his insights into the essentially incalculable truths of our lives. In a collection rich with lyric assurance and generosity of spirit, Hewett riffs on music theory, classic movies and texts, porn, the power of place, and loss and desire, past and present. Leading us into ever-greater clarity and compassion, he pays undivided attention to the world we share, where ‘there’s no greater vision / than in finally seeing / details reigning everywhere.’” —David Groff
“‘The man at the door / of this stanza is a ghost’: Greg Hewett’s poems embody astonishingly precise awareness. I cannot think of another poet who enters memory with such visionary suspicion, such delight. ‘What can’t be seen shows / everywhere’: Hewett’s poems invite us (dare us) to imagine, to see, in the clearest, bravest way possible (‘like spirits, if spirits had flesh and were still spirits’). Blindsight is a great book. We need it right now.” —Joseph Lease