How does one live in a world that is both beautiful and broken—a world of cherry blossoms and gun violence, fellowship and political enmity, plague and rebirth? What's Left to Us by Evening, David Ebenbach's unsparing and timely new poetry collection, examines the obligation—and privilege—of carrying all these things. The wide-ranging influences on the poems in Ebenbach's third collection include Judaism, the Asian poetic tradition, the natural and built environments, and current events.
David Ebenbach is the author of numerous books of fiction (How to Mars, Miss Portland, The Guy We Didn't Invite to the Orgy, Into the Wilderness, Between Camelots), poetry (Some Unimaginable Animal, We Were the People Who Moved), and essays (The Artist's Torah). He lives very happily with his family in Washington, DC, where he teaches creative writing at Georgetown University.
"There’s something reassuring about the way David Ebenbach writes about even the most troubling issues of our time. His poems, often deceptively gentle, offer a kind of tender good humor born of long-suffering patience."
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
"'The world is on its way to you' writes David Ebenbach, and the world in these pages is one made of equal parts grit and tenderness. It's a world of work, violence, politics, and little apocalypses, but also singing, birdwatching, prayer, and flowers bursting into bloom. At one point, a 'worker lowers / his bag of tools / through the cherry blossoms'—and this might be an apt metaphor for the perspective of this evocative book: behind the world's tough machinery is an undeniable beauty, and these poems are made by a poet skilled enough to help us see it." - Matthew Olzmann
"David Ebenbach's poems in What's Left to Us by Evening are funny, engaging, kind, generous-spirited, moving, clever, even childlike. It's almost easy to forget he's writing again and again about a world-wide pandemic, a bitterly-contested election, earth-threatening climate change—in short, the apocalypse. In this book, 'our children / ask for pie' while the poet carries with him the consciousness of great and irretrievable loss, 'the passport / of someone who died.' Ebenbach talks to us in such a way that we can't help but look. He hits all of our world's pressure points in a simple, straightforward, yet wholly imaginative and unforgettable fashion." - Dana Roeser
"David Ebenbach asks us to look on as 'from the scaffolding / the worker lowers / his bag of tools / through the cherry blossoms.' The blossoms may put one in mind of Imagist poets, but Ebenbach won't settle for mere imagism. He suggests, as Walter Benjamin did, that every monument to civilization is a monument to barbarism. And yet however starkly aware he is of the human world's exploitations and injustices, he won't settle either for facile, fashionable despair. Considering an abandoned subway tunnel, Ebenbach claims that 'we light this expanse of / soda bottles and human waste and see the verdant / potential,' just as elsewhere he notes 'that joy is not passive, / but something / you move toward, / however awkward.' Precious few current poets move in that direction more deftly or affectingly than Ebenbach." - Sydney Lea