By Stan Rice
(Knopf, Paperback, 9780375710339, 80pp.)
Publication Date: June 7, 2005
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Stan Rice, who died in December 2002, was a poet of unique, uncompromising vision. Joy and brutality, faith and faithlessness, the beauty of truth and, at times, of untruth–these opposing forces come together one last time in his final book of poetry, a haunting collection of psalms.
Beginning with his “Psalm 151”–that is, taking up where the Bible leaves off–Rice calls us to his own kind of prayer and contemplation. “Lord, hear me out,” he begins. “At the point of our need / The storehouse shares its shambles.” An elegant, passionate, tragic lament for our condition, Rice’s homemade psalms exhort us indirectly to accept our fate–the world as it is. In the brave, unshrinking manner that has characterized his whole career, Rice has written a profound farewell.
Stan Rice (1942—2002) was the author of seven previous collections of poetry. For many years he was a professor at San Francisco State University. He received the Edgar Allan Poe Award of the Academy of American Poets, among other awards. Rice, who was also a painter, was a longtime resident of New Orleans, where he lived with his wife, the novelist Anne Rice, and their son, the novelist Christopher Rice.