Late in the Day, Ursula K. Le Guin’s newest collection of poems, seeks meaning in an ever-connected world. In part evocative of Neruda’s Odes to Common Things and Mary Oliver’s poetic guides to the natural world, Le Guin gives voice to objects that may not speak a human language but communicate with us nevertheless through and about the seasonal rhythms of the earth, the minute and the vast, the ordinary and the mythological.
As Le Guin herself states, “science explicates, poetry implicates.” Accordingly, this immersive, tender collection implicates us (in the best sense) in a subjectivity of everyday objects and occurrences. Deceptively simple in form, the poems stand as an invitation both to dive deep and to step outside of ourselves and our common narratives. As readers, we emerge refreshed, having peered underneath cultural constructs toward the necessarily mystical and elemental, no matter how late in the day.
The poems are bookended with two short essays, “Deep in Admiration” and “Form, Free Verse, Free Form: Some Thoughts.”
In 2014, the National Book Foundation awarded Le Guin the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, a lifetime achievement award. Her celebrated acceptance speech, which criticized Amazon as a “profiteer” and praised her fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction, is included in Late in the Day as a postscript.
Late in the Day: Poems 2010–2014
PM Press 2015. New hardback; 112 pages