Evening Mist: Poems of Philadelphia

This is Ernest Yates’s eleventh volume of poems and the eighth volume in an ongoing series based on his wanderings through the streets of Philadelphia. Yates’s turns through city streets recall the wilderness wanderings of Bashō in seventeenth-century Japan, especially the wanderings of the river and mountain poets of T’ang and pre-T’ang dynasties of China. Receptive to his terrain as they were to theirs, Yates accepts the wildness outside, merging his imagination with it so that reading these poems is sharing in the mystery―the sublimity―of that wildness. That is why poems in this volume do not compose a discrete and grandly exotic music like that of Wallace Stevens; nor in their realism do they rely on a surrealist unreason; nor do they urge us toward stances of power, protest, or rebellion. Instead, these poems derive impact from their tone of sublime mystery drawn from the sprawl and turbulence of a great city’s streets.

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