Robert Hass Balances Extremes in ‘Summer Snow’

David L. Ulin at the LA Times:

This notion of survival — and of death, its necessary analogue — sits at the center of “Summer Snow,” which offers no illusions about the bittersweet consolations of looking back. “Christmas in August” goes on to remember an older man, “a refugee Professor from another generation”  Hass’s UC Berkeley colleague Czeslaw Milosz. For many years before Milosz’s death in 2004, the two collaborated on translations, and his fellow poet’s presence lingers in these verses like a specter or a soul.

In “An Argument About Poetics Imagined at Squaw Valley After a Night Walk Under the Mountain,” Hass refers to him directly. “My friend Czeslaw Milosz disapproved of surrealism,” he insists, reminding us of Milosz’s astonishing World War II poem “Campo dei Fiori,” with its shocking juxtaposition of a carousel in spring “[w]hile gunfire crackles on the other side of the ghetto wall.”

more here.