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Second Empire

Second Empire cover
Alice James Books
2015
Winner of the 2014 Beatrice Hawley Award
 
"The delicate arc of these poems intimates—rather than tells—a love story: celebration, fear of loss, storm, abandonment, an opening forth. Richie Hofmann disciplines his natural elegance into the sterner recognitions that matter: 'I am a little white omnivore,' the speaker of Second Empire discovers. Mastering directness and indirection, Hofmann's poems break through their own beauty." —Rosanna Warren
 
This debut's spare, delicate poems explore ways we experience the afterlife of beauty while ornately examining lust, loss, and identity. Drawing upon traditions of amorous sonnets, these love-elegies desire an artistic and sexual connection to others--other times, other places--in order to understand aesthetic pleasures the speaker craves. Distant and formal, the poems feel both ancient and contemporary.