Arrows in Hand reveals those moments of clarity and mystery that shape and define our conscious lives. Mastering an impressive range of forms and strategies, McKown consistently identifies those details, dark as well as shining, that hold us forever at the edge of love and lament--a profound love for family, for the world. McKown follows those threads from their first glimmerings in childhood to the difficult turns an adult life will take, yet always with great compassion. And, as the best poetry always does, ARROWS IN HAND transforms loss to arrive at a willingness to step finaly into a light beyond the self.

Thoughts on Arrows in Hand:

Derek McKown's fine book tells us, with great precision and feeling, about growing up in the shadow of the Viet Nam war, and charts the movement of that shadow into the depths of adult life. In elegantlhy direct language, these poems give us a uniquely American catalog of hardships, rituals, miscast affections, honesty, and hope. Arrows in Hand is a wonderful achievement.

Buoyed by "an intimate belief / in second chances," Derek McKown's searing new poems explore those secreted recesses where memory, desire, fear and wonder alternately succor and buffet the heart. Arrows in Hand describes love's harsh embrace—sinister and compassionate, tender and violent by turns, but inescapable nevertheless. McKown describes the nightmare of war—in Vietnam, in Kuwait—and in chillingh, heartbreaking detail shows how war become the recurring nightmare of an entire family.

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