Donald Platt, who holds a doctorate in Creative Writing from the University of Utah, is the author of seven volumes of poetry. In addition to One Illuminated Letter of Being, these books include Man Praying, Tornadoesque, Dirt Angels, My Father Says Grace, Cloud Atlas, and Fresh Peaches, Fireworks, & Guns. His poems have appeared in The New Republic, American Poetry Review, Poetry, Paris Review, Nation, Kenyon Review, Georgia Review, Southwest Review, Tin House, Ploughshares, Southern Review, Iowa Review, and Yale Review, as well as many other national journals. He is a recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and three Pushcart Prizes. Three of his poems have been anthologized in The Best American Poetry series. He teaches in the MFA program at Purdue University and lives in Lafayette, Indiana.
One Illuminated Letter of Being
One Illuminated Letter of Being is by turns lyric, narrative, and dramatic. Anger, great sadness, but also revelation and transformation are the emotional terrain that the poet walks unwaveringly. Wherever he goes, dying illuminates what it means to live.
Rooted in the fertile ground between narrative and lyric, Donald Platt’s new book illuminates the disquiet before and after the passing of a parent. Long known for their formal intelligence, his tercets reel in and out of splendor and the uncanny: ‘April’s hand has strung / the black branches / of the redbud with amethyst beads and counts // on that abacus / my mother’s last days.’ Deeply moving but clear-eyed, these poems remind us solace shimmers with loss and love. The unfathomable glitters in this book
This book reminds us of something wincing about our present moment without having to say it directly: our culture is so populated with stuff and banal distractions we risk losing all contact with what used to be sacred. Among the sacred matters we once held with dignity were all stages of life, including the end of life. Mr. Platt’s book presents this metaphysical angst in lush language, often with a wry tone, and in a form that ably carries the density and entwined matters of love and grief.”