Infinity Minus One (Paperback)

By John R. Snyder

Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 9781523603442, 114pp.

Publication Date: June 24, 2016

List Price: 18.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


In Infinity Minus One, a collection of poems written between 1987 and 2016, poet John R. Snyder explores themes of mortality, aging, the power and limits of language, fathers and sons, and the spiritual quest, in language that is precise, musical, and accessible. In the author's preface, Snyder acknowledges his debt to poets such as Gary Snyder, Jane Hirshfield, and William Stafford, and their influence is palpable in many of his poems. Snyder is known especially for his award-winning literary haiku, and more than thirty of these vivid and often poignant short poems are included in the collection. The book includes an appendix with author's notes on many of the poems. Infinity Minus One Is a Kirkus Reviews Indy Books of the Month Selection, October 2016.

About the Author

John R. Snyder, poet, musician, computer scientist, and retired Montessori educator, lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen. His haiku and renku have been published in literary journals in five countries and translated into several languages. His haiku took first and third prizes at the 2006 World Haiku Festival in the Netherlands. Snyder is also the author of Tending the Light: Essays on Montessori Education. His website is

Praise For Infinity Minus One

In this poetry collection, Snyder (Tending the Light, 2015) invites willing readers in with poignant commentaries on life, death, and fatherhood, among other topics.
Poetry is meant to make readers see the world through a different set of eyes, to brush aside the veil of everyday life and allow them to contemplate things from a fresh perspective. The best poets, however, offer more: they offer an alternate consciousness. Snyder’s collection does just that, lending his readers an awareness of life as he understands it, in pleasing and accessible language. These poems range in scope from simple modern haikus (“morning dew / in the teacups we left / by the campfire”) to soliloquies on the nature of time: “Time is a tightrope / stretched between the poles / of wanting and not wanting.” There are intimate elegies, such as “For Kathy,” which celebrates a life of love in a short poem graced by Wordsworth-ian simplicity. This collection is varied in its subjects, as demonstrated by the poet’s poignant reflections on illness and disability (“Love Letter to My Left Hand,” “Should Things Become Blurred”) as well as death itself (“Different Advice on Death,” “Mr. Death”). He moves from the personal (“Lux Perpetua: four octets for my son” and “When He Was Twelve”) to the religious and mythological in “Ikaros,” “The Remembered Thorn,” and “Shakyamuni’s Road.” Existential questions appear in poems such as “The Hand,” tempting the reader to stop and contemplate them: “What will we do then / with the unlived parts of our lives? / The hand can only hold / only so much.” The explanatory notes at the end aren’t necessary for readers to understand and appreciate the poems, but they show Snyder’s consideration of the reader—a trait that’s all too rare among contemporary poets.
A delightful compilation by a poet who has much to offer.
– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)