To the House of Collateral Damage: Centuries of the Civilian Dead
This incredibly ambitious, book-length poem takes on the modern problem of war. The poem's great achievement is that it situates our own age, not as a golden age, but as one notable for its harshness and brutality, especially towards noncombatants, as well as for the beauty of the language that can be found to describe and understand that brutality, and perhaps to change it. Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid allow us, two and a half millennia later, to experience the complexity and contradictions of the ancient world. La Riche proposes, boldly, to observe and judge our own world through the contradictions of our relationship to war.
"'Beauty will save the world,' said Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, quoting Dostoyevsky. William La Riche's poem is a fragment of just such life-giving beauty: timely, timeless, formidable, tender. Soaring and descending. Unlike any other work I know; and, once known, unforgettable." —Shirley Hazzard