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Review: Half-Life, by Michael Hulse

These are poems which know that we all have darkness within us, but insist upon a common humanity [...] Half-Life has fine things to say about the imagination [...] a vision of life is explored, a vision hinted at in the volume's title [...] and richly explored in the volume's dense allusive texture. The method is something like a modernist collage. [...] The sequence 'Foreknowledge Absolute' is the triumph of Half-Life, a conversation with death, acknowledging the worst of human atrocity but somehow managing to face the unendurable with the power of art. The sequence is powerfully informed by a range of historical and literary sources [...] Children are at the emotional heart of Half-Life, as in 'Swiss National Day in Lavigny', expressing our common hope that we "become as little children / skittering hast and light in the peace of the night". These wonderful poems do indeed sing "the music of life", offering a challenging and moving dance across the bridges of time and culture.