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Huang Po and the Dimensions of  Love

Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love

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Wally Swist


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
96 pages, 6 x 9

Crab Orchard Series in Poetry


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About the Book

In Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love, poet Wally Swist blends themes of love and epiphany to lead readers into a more conscious interaction with the world around them. These ethereal poems call upon a spirituality unfettered to any specific religion, yet universal and potent in its scope, offering a window through which life can be not only viewed but also truly experienced.

This luminescent collection illustrates the joys to be found in the everyday world and the power of existence. Unveiled here are the twin edges of love and madness; the quiet mysteries and revelations of a New England night or the glittering spark of snowdrops; the sharp scents of sugar maple and cinnamon; and the rustle of a junco’s wings. From the restoration and peace of silence or the rush of a brook, to spiraling hawks and Botticelli’s “The Annunciation,” Swist’s poems linger somewhere between the earthbound and the sublime.


Wally Swist is the author of Luminous Dream, which was chosen as a finalist for the 2010 FutureCycle Poetry Book Award. His poems have appeared in a number of anthologies and journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Alimentum: The Literature of Food, Appalachia, Rosebud, Stories from Where We Live: The North Atlantic Coast (Milkweed Editions), and Yankee Magazine. He has published more than 17 books and chapbooks.


“Complete with walking stick, a sharp eye for birds and botany, and a yearning for passion, Wally Swist makes his way through the world and takes the lucky reader with him.”—Billy Collins

“Love, nature, angels, age—these poems illuminate the important but very subtle issues that give life just the right modest weight it requires. I read them as teaching poems, teaching how to notice signals of meaning before they slip past. I will give these poems to friends who are always looking for a true insight and a worthy observation.”—Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul

“Nothing goes unnoticed or unsung in this fine collection of works from Wally Swist—the lingering scent of crushed garlic, the songs of birds, the light above the wings of the angel Gabriel in Botticelli’s Annunciation, the arrow flight of a sharp-shinned hawk. This is a book you could live with for a very long time.”—John Hanson Mitchell, author of The Wildest Place on Earth: Italian Gardens and the Invention of Wilderness

“In this book, Wally Swist uses the flora and fauna that haunt the hills of New England to articulate love and its seasons. The ephemeral presence of deer, juncos, snowdrops, and new maple leaves express the absence of a lost love, while the poet’s confidence that each creature will reappear in due course transforms elegy into paean. The hand that lets go is open to receive something new and unexpected: coils of bittersweet, a dragonfly, a Chinese poem, another song.”—Emily Grosholz

"In Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love, Wally Swist invites us to contextualize his exquisite eco-poetry within a subtly Buddhist life philosophy, weaving personal landscapes into natural ones. Although Swist’s poems arrive at countless reminiscences of a lover who is gone, his speaker nonetheless succeeds in being present in each moment and quietly teaches us how individual persons are always present, perhaps, as facets of Huang Po’s conception of a transcendent, all-encompassing Mind."—Julie Ann Brandt