Love's Last Number
From celebrated poet Christopher Howell, Love’s Last Number is a series of musings on time’s arrow: on both the relentless march that divides each moment into past, present, and future—before and after—and the ultimately porous and recursive nature of time itself. In a multiplicity of voices and tones, Love’s Last Number reflects on what we do about memory, love, grief, war, and the contradictions implicit in the human search for meaning. At once profoundly intimate and ambitiously broad in scope, this collection explores the place of individual losses and joys in the context of greater historical tragedy and triumph.
In its sinuous sequences, Love’s Last Number insists that life—and history—are a continuing crisis of faith, imagination, consciousness, and moral clarity. And yet these poems, like existence itself, offer moments of transcendent joy and sudden, inexplicable hilarity: laughter against the darkness.
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Praise and Prizes
“Christopher Howell’s vision is nearly mystical, his music is almost entirely uncanny. His poetry alters the way we might view our brief time here on Earth, by expanding it, by making meaning. But, of course, because he is such a gifted poet, Howell approaches this enormous task through the senses, via the small things, and in language that’s both mesmerizing and plain-spoken. This is a book you’ll read in a sitting, and then return to all your life.”
“Christopher Howell is our own prophet-seer. He knows the numbers of infinite angels dancing on infinite pins. He knows this wrong and shining world the way a boy comes to know it when forced by a teacher to write ‘Dreaming makes us stupid’ over and over on a chalkboard. These poems are great gifts. They contain multitudes of Whitmanesque wisdoms. They read as what our fathers would say to us after they are dead and gone. They are necessary. They are essential.”
“In these offerings, one could easily argue that we are quietly drawn into an entire book of war poems, demonstrating the abidingly cruel relationship between human beings and the inexorable. It is a circumstance so quietly and powerfully vivified time and again. These poems give rise to so much emotion it can barely be contained, defining us all—and this book—as such small but incredibly necessary lights amidst a great, historic, and personal wall of so much.”