Archives For Humility


“A Dancer Preparing to Move”

A Review of
Writing the Silences: Poems
by Richard Moore

Reviewed by Thomas T. Turner II

Writing the Silences: Poems
Richard Moore
Hardback: U of California Press, 2010.
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Richard Moore - WRITING THE SILENCES: POEMSIn her foreword to Richard O. Moore’s new book of poetry Writing the Silences, Brenda Hillman describes Moore’s poetry as evidence of a struggle “in relation to meaning itself, the idea of meaning in a world that has no easy gods or moral codes, a world in which institutions refuse to cooperate.” Hillman is apt to point this out, as the sheer brilliance of Moore’s poetry is found in the constant metaphysical probing for meaning in a post-Enlightenment world when such probing for meaning only leads to an endless chain of meaning upon meaning without any resolution. In effect, Moore writes his silences in Plato’s cave, the dim light of a fire giving up bits and pieces of poetic meaning before falling quickly back into the shadows of the cave.

Moore’s work is not a critique of modernism as much as it is a poetic realization of the world he was born into and writes about. Moore’s poem “Dog in the Forest” digs deep into the capriciousness of life and connects our metaphysical restlessness to acedia:

Can it be told when an ancient trace of faith
gave way under stress in every modern world?
. . .
There are paths which have left behind no odor of life.
. . .
Read the wind dream a sleep of unknowing lie down
with the Noonday Demon.

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