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From the Ground Up: Poems of One Southerner's Passage to Adulthood

by Robert Hamblin


In Praise of New Beginnings

I set this down
in praise
of new beginnings:

the winding of a clock,
runners awaiting
the starter's gun,
all inaugurations,
commencements, grand openings,
ordinations, christenings,
every madonna with child,
middle-aged losers
strolling hand in hand,
a robin feeding her young,
a new moon, a new year,
another decade.

Raise the curtain!
Cut the ribbon!
Lift the glass!

What celestial
symphonies of faith:
the heavy downbeat of history
drowned in ringing hosannas
of hope.



This book traces one Southerner's journey from rural Mississippi, with memories of his sharecropper grandparents and his father's country store, to his life as a professor, devoted family man, world traveler, and, ultimately, poet of the gentle events of everyday life.


Hamblin's poems, like his grandfather's clock, unwind in remarkable words. . . . Speaking seminally of love, of truth, they march continuously toward that inevitable newness of old ground: the renewed intelligence of love.
— Don Welch, former Reynolds Professor of Literature, University of Nebraska

Hamblin writes both as a solitary person, and also as a son, a husband, a father, and a grandfather, and thus gives us a complete portrait of a male sensibility from youth to maturity. Grief and loss are constant themes, but he manages to transcend them through the gains of imagination. . . . No one will remain unmoved and unchanged by these remarkable poems.
— Jay Martin, author of Winter Dreams, Who Am I This Time?, and All Is Merry and Bright: The Life of Henry Miller

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