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Winter Amnesties

Winter Amnesties

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Elton Glaser


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
96 pages, 6 x 9

Crab Orchard Series in Poetry


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About the Book

Winter Amnesties is a book of origins and endings, griefs and reconciliations. Each poem addresses the dilemma posed by G. K. Chesterton: “One must somehow find a way of loving the world without trusting it.” The poems revisit the past, assess the present, and stare hard into the future. At middle age, Glaser remembers his youth in Louisiana and settles into the long stretch of his adult years in Ohio; he makes his peace with “the life that allows.” As son, as father, as poet, he looks to his legacy, whatever dim remnant of himself might continue after “all flesh falls back to salt and cinder.”

But these are poems of brio and bitter wit, not of self-pity and surrender. They take a jaunty stance towards life and welcome whatever the days may bring, confident that, like crows in the harvest cornfield, we can live on “the shocks and waste of this world” and “wring gold grain from the ruin.”


Elton Glaser is Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus at the University of Akron and former director of the University of Akron Press. He has published three full-length collections of poems: Relics, Tropical Depressions, and Color Photographs of the Ruins. His poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry 1995, The Best American Poetry 1997, Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the Twentieth Century in Poetry, and The Pittsburgh Book of Contemporary American Poetry. Among his awards are two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, three fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council, the Iowa Poetry Prize, and the Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize.


“Elton Glaser’s poems are classic in the best sense of the word: he achieves stateliness without stuffiness and form without confinement. Glaser cannot keep himself from referencing the whole canon of our poetry, from a Yeats-inflected bit of self-description (the ‘fifty-year-old frowning private man’) to a ripped-off Shakespeare riff. Yet these poems take swings at their own erudition, and Glaser is likely, at those moments where we least expect it, to go at his elegant constructions with the pickax of the common tongue: ‘It’s all over, bud.’ Winter Amnesties seamlessly mixes high culture and low, the ‘glitz and zillion disciplines’ of the universe that Glaser praises. This is an American poetry, a civic poetry infused with enough sly wit to make us root for the oak trees and the stars. These poems also will convince even the most jaded of postmodern readers that Beauty with a capital B is nothing to be ashamed of.”—Lucia Perillo