Before the Sun

“. . . .as always, Schireson brings us into the heart of his contemplative poetry with wit, imagination, and warmth..”

~ James Arthur

Read poems from BEFORE THE SUN



The reader of Schireson’s newest collection is invited to walks around the neighborhood, walks around the heart, dream walks, and mind walks. Before the Sun explores the exterior and interior world of the speaker whose observant ego is at once sharp and amazed if somewhat alarmed by what’s being observed as in this passage: “Last night, dreams filled with trees,/the trees full of crows./ /The house draws into itself.II am mesmerized by my metabolism.// /Life through a microscope./ !We need to move.” Schireson’s spare poems are packed with images and figures that broadcast news of the world-public and private. Sharp, clear-eyed, dry-humored, and often glib, these are masterfully crafted lyrics. “Middle of another night,/my mind colonized by the evening’s headlines./It seems like the world is losing all its tenderness.”

 ~ Martha Rhodes

What a pleasure to have another collection by Peter Schireson! These intimate poems tell the story of the author’s move from New York City to southern California. Before the Sun is about mortality, among other things: the austere landscape of the Sonoran Desert leads Schireson to serious questions about what one human life means against the enormity of history and the natural world. But as always, Schireson brings us into the heart of his contemplative poetry with wit, imagination, and warmth.

James Arthur, author of The Suicide’s Son

This chapbook masquerades as a genteel gesture of retirement, but Peter Schireson can remove one tooth from a comb and in that miniscule space pirouette nimbly between moods, meditations, and modes of perception as if Houdini were newly reborn as a ballerina. He gives the game away when he admits to being “suspended between the soft witchery of words and the rough skin of the world.” Even his glance can make me laugh, and more than once, I’ve stopped dumbfounded at a poem’s end, as when his mother mourns the death of two girls at Sobibor and the luck that led her and not them from the Holocaust.

~ Peter Coyote, author, Zen Priest