Finalist for the Rilke Prize
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Christopher Howell’s haunted and haunting Gaze is a collection of counterpoints, swinging between moments of delicate connection and striking brutality. Howell explores how our interior and exterior lives are entangled, the past living on inside us as we live in the physical world around us, and he reminds us how loss releases us into the present—how in the process of living, “everybody pays.”

Gaze is divided into three sections, focusing successively on the objective world, the world of the inner life, and finally on the “other world” of the imagination and alternate reality. The author speaks through his own voice as well as the voices of other characters, ghosts, and creatures, coming together to question and explore our perception of the world. Shifting between lyric and narrative, these poems proceed incrementally and with humility, offering a bewitching and deeply felt wisdom.

Publish Date
5.5 × 8.5 × 0.25 in
5.3 oz

Christopher Howell

Christopher Howell has published ten collections of poems, most recently Gaze and Love’s Last Number, which was a finalist for the UNT Rilke Prize. He teaches at Eastern Washington University, where he is also director of Willow Springs Books, as well as director and principal editor for Lynx House Press.

Praise and Prizes

  • “There is almost no contemporary poetry I can think of capable of taking me where Christopher Howell’s poetry takes me: not on a journey of distance but of perspective. These poems contain the essence of poetry, rational thought subverted into an exquisite and unexpected new logic. Orphic, Miltonic, Rilkean, Howell is the poet I turn to when poetry eludes me, when I cannot remember my dreams, when I fail to love our human frailties.”

    Kathy Fagan
  • “An exceptional voice and talent, one that enriches all of us writing and reading poetry in these times.”

    Christopher Buckley
  • “What a range of emotions, and what a rightness of tone Christopher Howell can work into a poem. There is an honest ease in his voice and a clarity in his gaze, playful, melancholic, elegiac, and stoic by turns. He blends the ordinary and the fabulous the way a great guitar player bends and stretches a note without missing a beat.”

    Greg Pape
  • “Christopher Howell’s books are at eye-level on my nearest shelf, so I can reach them when poems are wanted to bring the soul to in its own silvery light, where it often wakes weeping and trembling.”

    Michael Heffernan
  • Gaze leads its reader through a concatenation of perspectives to a simultaneously mournful and hopeful place. It leaves us with that indescribable feeling of interconnectedness that sometimes emerges from great literature wherein the particular, deeply meditated upon expands into the universal and makes us more than ourselves.”

    Quarterly West
  • “These are beautiful crow-lit lyric poems singed with memory, delivered in an off-hand minor chord, touched by the surreal and the small, that manages to distill loss and still deliver a fierce joy.”