Ernest Hilbert’s new book of poems, All of You on the Good Earth, takes its title from an astronaut speaking at a larger-than-life moment. On Christmas Eve 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 witnessed that heart-stopping image of Earth rising over the Moon’s desolation. In his message to Mission Control, Commander Frank Borman, riven with homesickness, signed off: “Good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you—all of you on the good Earth.” This is a fitting title because there is something larger than life in Hilbert’s voracious range. The poems in this second collection, as in his first (Sixty Sonnets), spill out like fruit from a cornucopia. His imagination has room for sharks, Etruscans, cats, Cyril Connolly, Chelsea lofts, gravediggers, the Green Line in Philadelphia, Seneca, and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.

 

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