As They Sail


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About this book

With each new collection of poems, Samuel Hazo explores themes of mortality and love, passion and art, courage and grace in a style that is unmistakably his own. In As They Sail, he writes with equal feeling and clarity about political and artistic figures and the complex synchronicity between life and art. He is extremely interested in the wonderment and discovery that emerges in the act of writing, in the movement toward wisdom that results from expression of feeling.


Questioning is always more important in his writing than answering. Hazo has the ability to accomplish what he attributes to another poet, Charles Causley, in “When Nothing’s Happening, Everything’s Happening”: “. . . the poems borne of his pen / . . . help us to feel what we think.” He is able to achieve this “felt thought” without any trace of self-absorption or sentimentality.


Whether Hazo is writing about Nixon, Hemingway, or Brando or simply about walking in France, he finds the essence of language that gives rise to an emotional response. In a time when poetry without emotion is praised and language is said to make sense simply because it exists on the page, Hazo’s clear voice and concern with the nature of love, time, change, and the meaning of the past is uniquely refreshing.

About the author

Samuel Hazo is McAnulty Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Duquesne University and director of the International Poetry Forum in Pittsburgh. In 1993 he was named first state poet of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He has published books of poetry, fiction, essays, and various works of translation and has written three plays. His most recent books of poetry are The Past Won’t Stay Behind You and The Holy Surprise of Right Now: Selected and New Poems.