Nebraska Center for Writers

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About Stephen C. Behrendt

INSTRUMENTS OF THE BONES
A STEP IN THE DARK



Instruments of the Bones
Copyright © 1992
by Stephen C. Behrendt
Mid-List Press

In Instruments of the Bones, Stephen C. Behrendt attends to the details of his immediate world with a keen, focused, and sensitive eye. His is a natural world that includes man--a living world that includes death. Behrendt's meditative poems unfold quickly in the "Here, now...this glaring spot of time"; but their roots reach deeply into the past, and their implications stretch indeterminately into the future.--from the jacket
It's odd and fitting that bones, the only part of our bodies that persists after death, should become the emblem of our transitory nature. Instruments of the Bones by Stephen C. Behrendt includes dozens of richly imagined and affecting elegies, written not just for people but for a whole spectrum of creatures great and small. Behrendt knows that love is the other side of mortality, and in his poetry he gathers up our lost, wounded, strayed, and fallen. The flute he fashions from a hollow bone plays unforgettable music.--Emily Grosholz


A Step in the Dark
Copyright © 1996
by Stephen C. Behrendt
Mid-List Press

A Step in the Dark has the rich savor of work aged in the heart and mind. Behrendt sees and hears keenly, testifies, and presents to us the roiling universe of nature and culture. Passionate and witty, the poems are recollected in tranquility, presented with the small measure of detachment that Wordsworth recommends. These poems are brilliant and wise, deeply satisfying and compassionate. I can't imagine having lived without them.--Hilda Raz
Whether he writes of humans or animals, Stephen Behrendt feels the Other as an extension of himself, and this empathy makes his work profoundly moving. The poems in A Step in the Dark are not afraid to be gorgeous, yet Behrendt's eloquence is free of preening and preciousness. A Step in the Dark is a gift book, in many senses of the phrase. Reading it, I experienced a tragic and compassionate vision of the world "dignified and lovely in the robes of mystery."--Alice Fulton
Over 80 years ago, in "The Prose Tradition in Verse," Pound wrote of the virtues of "clarity and precision" he found essential to all good writing. Readers will find such virtues in A Step in the Dark. They will also find a generous inclusive- ness, both in stance and subject matter, to the available world. No small accomplishments, given the self-preoccupations of so much contemporary work.--Robert Gibb

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