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This review is taken from PN Review 238, Volume 44 Number 2, November - December 2017.

Cover of Noon until Night
M.G. StephensLiving in the World

Richard Hoffman, Noon until Night (Barrow Street Press) $16.95;
Richard Hoffman, Love & Fury (Beacon Press) $16.00
Twenty years ago, Richard Hoffman was the author of a singular memoir, Half the House, and no other book publications. In that score of years, he has managed to publish four books of poetry, a short story collection, and another memoir. The noughties and the new century have been good to him, and rightly so. He was a well-kept secret that only a handful of east-coast writers knew about. Now his work is known across America and abroad.

He is especially liked in Europe because his sensibility fits well with the literary world on the continent. Hoffman is an engaged writer, one with a sublime sense of traditions and justice, myths and social conscience.

these people

as our apathy sees them,
they might have sheltered in a cowrie shell
              or under a tern’s wing;

And the poem concludes:

were they all, those

                                                     as swift as our
they would be

                               (‘Tsunami’, Noon until Night)

Hoffman is a product of the Rust Belt of Allentown, Pennsylvania, something he chronicles in his two memoirs, Half the House and, its continuation, Love & Fury. The former book ostensibly dealt with his family of origin, two of his brothers dying of muscular disorders in childhood. But the book is mostly known for Hoffman’s unflinching account of being molested by an athletic coach, who later was convicted of his serial crimes against children partly on ...

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