(Singing Horse Press, 2005)
We are confronted in Hank Lazer’s The New Spirit by something like a book-length prayer: a crisis in search of a resolution through language — invocation & meditation — that allows itself & him to speak. If the surface of the work seems radical (& it is), its depths connect to the oldest sources of poetry — a “new spirit,” like Apollinaire’s who first spoke the term to us, that evokes the ancient (ancestral) spirit/breath of poetry (“such / old roots fragments”) & in that telling “makes it new.” Lazer is by now a master of such turns / (re)turns, such movements of sight & sound, & The New Spirit— both as book & quest — adds to the growing array of his books, his intelligence, that calls for our attention.
— Jerome Rothenberg
The New Spirit is Hank Lazer’s journey to the interior. Here the poet’s devotion is to the spirit of the letter, seeking a language that points to what lies beyond words, requiring neither epiphany nor apocalypse for its revelation. Inspiration arrives in measures of breath, leaning toward meaning. Lazer returns the soul and its song to their highest aspiration. If you follow, he’ll take you there, sounding it out as you go.
— Harryette Mullen