Though the shorter meditations and more experimental pieces don’t achieve the same heft and emotional resonance as the more “traditional” essays, they do serve in providing varied cadence to the collection. And throughout, Henry is able to imbue weight and significance to the daily trials: housebreaking a dog, changing an ink cartridge in a printer, choosing how to react to a daughter come home too late at night. And throughout, he demonstrates a reverence and a respect for his family, his fellow writers, his students, and the onward thumping push of life. “My fifty-sixth autumn,” he marvels in “Beautiful Flower,” “yet still . . . I stare with disbelief at the colors, the crimson glow, leaves lit by sunlight, against the deep blue of the sky.” There’s a quiet courage in these essays, and a revelatory sense of the continuing challenge of pressing on.
DeWitt Henry reads from Safe Suicidethis Sunday, June 22, at 2 pm at Newtonville Books, 296 Walnut Street, Newtonville. Free. For more information call 617.244.6619.
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