The Lost Country of Sight

The Lost Country of Sight

Anhinga Press
90 pages
Paper ISBN 978-1-934695-06-7

Neil Aitken

Winner: 2007 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry

It’s difficult to believe that Neil Aitken’s The Lost Country of Sight is a first book, since there is mastery throughout the collection. His ear is finely tuned, and his capacity for lyricism seems almost boundless. What stands out everywhere in the poems is his imagery, which is not only visually precise but is also possessed of a pure depth. The poems never veer off into the sensational; they are built from pensiveness and quietude and an affection for the world. “Traveling Through the Prairies, I Think of My Father’s Voice” strikes me as a perfectly made poem, but poems of similar grace and power are to be found throughout the book. This is a debut to celebrate. — C.G. Hanzlicek, Judge, 2007 Philip Levine Prize Prize for Poetry

Fueled by motion and emotion, Neil Aitken’s The Lost Country of Sight is literally and figuratively a moving collection. His winding roads and “ghost cars” move us over the landscapes of identity and personal history with stirring meditative grace. “There is a song at the beginning of every journey,” Aitken tells us in one poem even as he says in another, “these are journeys we never take.” This poet is both our wise, wide-eyed tour guide and our dazed, day-dreaming companion in this rich, mature debut. — Terrance Hayes

The voice in these poems is that of a sighted, awake heart discovering its home in language and its homelessness in the world. Steeped in longing, the imagination here is concrete, vivid, sensuous, and ultimately erotic, even as it perceives that meaning and beauty are evanescent. This book is a full helping from the world’s infinite fund of tears. — Li-Young Lee

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