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Too Late for Manly Hands

Too Late for Manly Hands

  • Hank Jones's Too Late for Manly Hands, his premier collection, attests an abundant, big-hearted vision of life.  In these poems he traces the sometimes tangled intersections of innocence and initiation, fury and compassion, hilarity and grief.  Topics range broadly, from travels in Japan to the sheer rapture of listening to a Beethoven string quartet, but whether he's describing earthy Boy Scout rituals, his wife's battle with cancer, or a turbulent father-son relationship, his disarming honesty engages and inspires, brightening “the temporary flicker of human life.”  Even in confronting manifest wrongs like climate change or unjust imprisonment, he avoids any tinge of self-righteousness, often calling himself to account for the ills. The 13th-century poet Rumi writes, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing or rightdoing, there is a field.  I'll meet you there,” and it's in this luminous space that readers find the poetry of Hank Jones, to their everlasting enrichment.


Carol Coffee Reposa

2018 Texas Poet Laureate

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