cover of book

Because the Light Will Not Forgive Me: Essays from a Poet
by Shaun T. Griffin
University of Nevada Press, 2019
eISBN: 978-1-948908-13-9 | Cloth: 978-1-948908-12-2
Library of Congress Classification PN6110.P6B43 2019
Dewey Decimal Classification 808.819

“Think of a man walking in the desert,” writes Griffin, “looking for the path to its summit, looking for the observatory that may, at last, shed light on what’s below.”

In this luminous and moving book of essays, award-winning author Shaun Griffin weaves together a poetic meditation on living meaningfully in this world. Anchored in the American West but reaching well beyond, he recounts his discoveries as a poet and devoted reader of poetry, a teacher of the disadvantaged, a friend of poets and artists, and a responsible member of the human family.

Always grounded in place, be it Nevada, South Africa, North Dakota, Spain, Zimbabwe, or Mexico, Griffin confronts the world with an openness that allows him to learn and grow from the people he meets. This is a meditation on how all of us can confront our own influences to achieve wholeness in our lives. Along with Griffin, readers will reflect on how they might respond to a homeless man walking through central Nevada, viewing the open desert as Thoreau might have viewed Walden, seeing the US-Mexico border as a region of lost identity, reconciling how poets who live west of the Hudson River find anonymity to be their laurel, and experiencing how writing poetry in prison becomes lifesaving.

Whether poets or places in the West or beyond, experiences with other cultures, or an acute awareness that poetry is the refuge of redress—all have influenced Griffin’s writing and thinking as a poet and activist in the Great Basin. The mindfulness of Because the Light Will Not Forgive Me demonstrates that even though the light does not forgive, it still reveals.

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