In Ghostlight. Louisiana State University Press, 2024. Purchase
These are brilliantly clear poems to read and read again, poems to study and to love — few American poets working in rhyme and meter today could write poems to match them.
Shane McCrae, finalist for the National Book Award
In Ghostlight is a major book. With this virtuosic second volume, Ryan Wilson places himself among the best poets of his generation. His formal mastery is dazzling. If there were a decathlon in metrics, Wilson would take the gold. What distinguishes the book, however, is how deftly Wilson uses those forms to create expressive music to pursue his themes of faith and failure, class and culture, memory and mortality. He shows traces of his sources—Wilbur, Hecht, Baudelaire, Eliot, even Robinson—but only to demonstrate how completely he has assimilated them into his own high lyric style. How thrilling to read such an ambitious new book.
Dana Gioia, winner of the American Book Award
I have been waiting for a poet like Ryan Wilson, an unapologetic formalist whose metrical agility is precise and varied and whose uncamouflaged rhymes unleash an intelligence that is at once wild and sensible. In Ghostlight explores the veils that bind past and present, and all resonates from a singular emotional depth. Wilson’s ghosts are real. There is no one else like him.
Rodney Jones, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award