Philip Resnick’s Footsteps of the Past constitutes a powerful set of reflections on the modern human condition. The book contains poems dealing with memory, recognition, and the slow passage of time, while others meditate on the deep wounds that chronic illness and disability instill. Some of the poems have a critical political edge, while others probe the cultural and philosophical underpinnings of our modern identities with cool detachment and unrelenting honesty. For inspiration, Resnick draws on Sophocles, Thucydides, Montesquieu, and, from our own day, Thomas Piketty and Charles Taylor. There is also a shout-out to “Je suis Charlie.” Always in these poems one senses a longing for a previous, perhaps mythical, time when the future opened the possibility of a world of ideals. For the reader, this book will resonate in quite unpredictable ways, much like the ferry of the mind whose voyage the author invokes. Bare-knuckled imagery, intellectual inquisitiveness, and a kaleidoscope of themes mark Footsteps of the Past as a strikingly original poetry collection.
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