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Quitting Time, by Patrick Cabello Hansel

These new poems by Patrick Hansel are all really one poem, a sequence that is at its heart a great tribute of a son’s love for his father unlike any I’ve read before. War, the Great Depression, homelessness, the hazards of farming, hair cutting and day work, this is the essential American immigrant story, a story of strife and rage and glory. “the eyes of the dead…will open like broken wings” — “And the earth remembers.” Yes, and so do poets, remember and seek “Justice, mercy, bread..” Just we all need now, justice, mercy and bread. Amen.
Philip Schultz, Pulitzer Prize winning poet, author of Failure and The God of Loneliness

Recalling the best of poems about fathers by their sons—those of Roethke, Thomas, Hayden, Li-Young Lee—the poems here are about generations and the vantage that maturity allows us on the personal past. Quitting Time is a family story, a story we sense that Cabello Hansel needed to tell, in poems he felt compelled to write. That he wrote them with such grace and craft, such candor and openheartedness is to our delight. And also to our getting of wisdom, because we learn a great deal from this book—about the Dust Bowl, about the War, and about the comings and goings of commerce in a one-man barber shop in a factory town.

In the end, poetry should offer readers an encounter with language they wouldn’t experience otherwise. Such lines are many here, and they hold all the drama and heartache that goes unspoken from generation to generation, and which it is the poet’s job to render. In Quitting Time, it is a job well done.

Richard Terrill
Minnesota Book Award Winner
Author of What Falls Away Is Always

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