“Magnificent poetry; dark, severe, even harsh—yet pulsating with life.” —John Ashbery
White Spaces gathers the poetry and prose of Paul Auster from various small-press books issued throughout the seventies. These early poetic works are crucial for understanding the evolution of Auster’s writing. Taut, lyrical, and always informed by a powerful and subtle music, his poems begin with basics—a swallow’s egg, stones, roots, thistle, “the glacial rose”—and push language to the breaking point. As Robert Creeley wrote, “The enduring power of these early poems is their moving address to a world all too elusive, too fragmented, and too bitterly transient.” Auster’s poems are grounded in a physical utterance that is at once an exploration of the mind and of the world. This collection begins with compact verse fragments from Spokes (originally published in Poetry, 1971) and goes through Auster’s marvelous later collections including Wall Writing (The Figures, 1976), Facing the Music (Parenthese, 1979), and White Spaces (Station Hill, 1980).