Held Together Arts

It’s difficult to think of a male poet who focuses so completely and perceptively on domestic life as Grey Held does in his aptly titled second book, Spilled Milk. First as father, then as husband, Held invites us into his home life, from which he draws carefully chosen details and anecdotes that create an emotionally complex and deeply moving account of the vicissitudes of marriage and family.” –Martha Collins

In these clear, precise poems, Grey Held explores father/son/family relationships in language notable for its humility and grace. His domesticity is an invitation to meditate on the elegant mysteries of the garden, and of mature love. In an age overwrought with ‘experimental language’ and high abstraction, he brings us a poetic of the heart and hearth and inviting humility, for which I am deeply grateful. –Sam Hamill

The general of the book’s title – based in part on Held’s father – has a military mindset that profoundly affects the relationship between father and poet. In lines that are direct and unsentimental, these poems follow the poet as he comes of age and establishes his own complex relationship to stoicism and emotion. Running throughout the book is a note of tender, almost elegiac sadness that helps us see how father and son have both been shaped by the world at war. Held helps us realize, in the end, that we all have that in common.  –Fred Marchant

In Two Star General, Grey Held unpacks moment after moment for us, and each time grabs readers by our shirts and yanks us up close to a precise vitality. “Pass the salt,” he writes, and by the third repetition, we are inside a complex family relationship, marveling that it can be laid bare in so few lines. This is brilliant poetry, opening the reader to the rapture of being alive.–Gena Corea