What one finds in these poems is the truth. It's as simple as that. No frills from the workshop, no ostentatious diction or imagery, but only the firm, quiet enterprise of authenticity. In a world increasingly crude, cruel, and repulsive what could be more pleasing, more useful? Not that these poems shun our actual history. Violence and dislocation are the clearly stated context here. But the accurate vision of a committed imagination prevails, and does so in language as flawless as language can be. I recommend these poems for their wisdom and insight, but even more for their steadfast initiative and independence, their refusal to be fashionable. Judge's Statement by Hayden Carruth for Blinding the Goldfinches, 2003 Backwaters Prizewinner.