Night Wing over Metropolitan Area (Carnegie Mellon University Press Poetry Series )
Introspective poems that balance past and present beauty and pain.
Hoppenthaler’s fourth collection gives voice to a hard-earned weariness that acknowledges but resists resignation. As Grammy Award-winning songwriter Rosanne Cash puts it, “Hoppenthaler’s attention to the specifics of nature—hummingbirds, Japanese maples, snowfall—are like embroidery, stitched through and holding together the sharp memories and images of loss, longing, regret, and hope.” These subtle yet powerful poems assay aging, spirituality, contemporary political concerns, death, the struggles of a mentally ill child, and related marital pressures. In the end, the poems conclude with a sense of resiliency and purpose reinscribed.
Praise for Night Wing over Metropolitan Area (Carnegie Mellon University Press Poetry Series )
"I needed these poems from John Hoppenthaler. There is so much beauty in his poems, but no sentimentality. There is raw feeling, but it has purpose and provides service for our rattled hearts. There are “scrimshaw clouds,” but they hover above a grieving woman in a house dress by the side of the road. There is “remembered sunlight” and the “currents of time,” and they flow through a child with OCD who might have been exorcised in past centuries, and through a father who collapses into a snowbank. Hoppenthaler’s attention to the specifics of nature—hummingbirds, Japanese maples, snowfall—are like embroidery, stitched through and holding together the sharp memories and images of loss, longing, regret, and hope. These poems nurtured me."
— Rosanne Cash, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter
"In Night Wing over Metropolitan Area, we are given John Hoppenthaler’s signature attention to beauty and ruin as they are woven into the natural world—as well as the complicated nature of the human heart. There is a dreamlike, haunting quality to many of these poems, as 'Ghost / notes sound the morning mist' and we are instructed to 'See it there, up in the branches, // something that looks human kicking until / it’s only ghost nerves and evening wind.' These are poems of deep attention, fine and nuanced in their perceptions. They are meditations that spend 'the whole night // pointing at the moon,' with deftly crafted verses full of 'song and praise, haunted chants / the prayer house can’t hold.'”
— Brian Turner, award-winning author of Here, Bullet