Pub Date: 6/15/2020
BORROWED LIGHT, Ken Haas’ first collection of poems, is complex, vibrant, capacious and wildly imaginative. With affection and wonderful clarity, Haas describes a childhood of ‘taking infield practice and shagging flies,’ Atlantic City’s ‘sunburn and saltwater taffy,’ a trip into Manhattan to see the legendary John Coltrane, who ’emptied his arms in a wave that even now speaks to the kind of man I could become.’ But it would be a mistake to call this book nostalgic. Haas is keenly aware of the darker forces of history. The same anti-Semitism that forced his grandparents to flee Nazi Germany is alive and well today—’we just forgot that shirt-wise brown is brown, words do burn, and we can see the rest from here.’ Yet what emerges overall is a celebration of the immigrant. Peopled with men and women from El Salvador, China, Mexico, Philippines. BORROWED LIGHT is an invitation to empathy, an embrace of the stranger, a sanctuary.
—Ellen Bass, Author of Indigo