Snider's first book of poems since The Alchemy of Opposites (2000), Aspens in the Wind (2009) contains the best of his poetry since 2000.
Clifton gives an overview of the book:
Women, of course, were not allowed
under the Taliban to visit the zoo.
A tall creature of cloth, blue or black,
standing behind the mesh
might scare or even feed & comfort
what animals had not yet been
tortured or killed for their flesh.
While I stand isolated at LAX,
amidst cheerful, well-fed workers
who have detected traces of TNT
on a camera I purchased
twenty-three years ago,
a lone monkey in Kabul stares
through wood and metal, his face long,
wan, hoping for crumbs from the crowd.
The Taliban have fled. The bear
with the beaten nose
might now get meat,
deer might get feed,
the keeper might get paid.
The twenty-three-year old lion, Marjan,
blinded by a grenade, is famous,
his face spread over TV, newspapers:
disfigured, ragged, majestic,--his fur
matted, sticking up, hanging down,
defiant, a regal survivor,
in a land where children are lucky
to get fodder pounded in a bowl,
where soldiers stick money in the noses
of enemy bodies,
and the spirit has barely begun to heal.
Clifton Snider is the author of ten highly-acclaimed books of poetry, including The Age of the Mother (1992), The Alchemy of Opposites (2000), and Moonman: New and Selected Poems (2012). His novel about a bisexual rock star, Loud Whisper,...