I couldn't describe [Toby Olson] nor do I know his age, even so he seems almost a brother, so moved am I this April morning reading and rereading The Florence Poems.
So what does one do? Praise, point out, explain? Jerome Rothenberg prefaces the poems saying they respond to "the death by sickness that a friend must live through." Festina lente, make haste slowly, a woman is dying. The urgency of address is part of the book's occasion, yet with courage and great honesty. Olson lets himself linger over moments like this:
And down the sandy path from the parking lot
a tall young woman in a large red hat
(The entire section is 886 words.)