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Full Quotes for The Only Light Coming In

Page turner, The Only Light Coming In, will make you both smile and reflect. This collection of poems has some unforgettable lines. The last line of "Two Stop Lights, One Diner" reads “Her feet must be killing her,” came as an unexpected twist and shows a great empathy by the author. The opening line of "Once Love, In An Italian Restaurant," reads “At a table for two, Love threw hot escargot at me,” and so makes it an impossibility not to be immediately drawn in. While "I’m thinking of going bland" may be a poetic device, it is not easily forgotten. A seamlessly flowing and intriguing debut collection by Joseph Hardy.

            —Kay Thompson Fields, journalist


Entangled with the ghosts of his past, Mr. Hardy works to make sense of his past. He moves toward understanding his failures, and the self-destructive decisions of those he has loved. His memories are fluid, unsparing. The universality of relationships, an irony of daily life, is what grips the reader as events of their own lives come to pass. This is no simple despair. Each day raises specific, a struggle with his inner life, sometimes troubling, always trustworthy. 

            —Stellasue Lee, Ph.D., author of Queen of Jacks, New & Selected Poems

It may sometimes be too early, but it’s never too late, to come of age. In wise lyrics and compelling narratives, Joe Hardy’s The Only Light Coming In gives us hypnotic eloquence mixed with intricate truth. Logic isn’t good enough—“beating a drum with no hand / as logic tries to do”—but the art of waiting, of honesty’s eventuality, is praised. Hardy’s poems remind us constantly that we’re “full of waiting;” they are quirkily meditative, populated with dreams both real and imagined. The poet tells us “I should go to bed and dream, / catch whatever comes into me, / up from me, // acknowledge / I am a stranger to myself / in this place.” In poems accessible but rich in music and implication, Hardy desires to capture what can be held of what’s most slippery. Hardy’s is an expansive, profound debut full of one man’s quest to be both broken and fiercely alive.

            —Gary McDowell, author of Aflame (White Pine Press, 2020)

I come to poetry for arresting imagery and for phrases that make me grin or that stop me in my tracks. I come to poetry to sit with a familiar feeling like an old friend, and to leave with a fresh thought like a new companion.  I come to poetry wanting stories I can follow and that transport me back to stories of my own.  I come to poetry hoping to feel the wonder of "Hmmm, I hadn't thought of it like that before," and to feel the envy of "Damn, I wish I had thought of that!"  This collection of poems by Joseph Hardy possesses an abundance of all these elements. And as happens to me when I enjoy the gifts offered in generous poetry, I left this book feeling blessed and grateful.  

            —Ramon Presson, author of When Will My Life Not Suck?, The Roles of a Lifetime, I'm Not (Totally) Making This Up, and Voice Lessons


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