Winner of the 1999 T. S. Eliot Prize
The Rose Inside is a collection of poems where the outsider longs to get inside and those trapped inside look out. The art guides one to a place beyond dualities to fully participate in the good work of love, separation, and death.
David Keplinger is a translator of event and emotion with poems that are lyrical, forceful, deeply feeling, and sometimes mysterious. Not everything in our lives is solvable, or knowable—so much issues from a mere point, like moonlight in a prison cell, or a minnow being lifted from the bait pail to the hook, or a group of Polish soldiers who “sleep quietly on one another’s shoulders.”
This is a wide book and a deep one, alive with marvelous composition and outcry. And yet, for all its zest of expression it is real life and real feeling that is most honored. As the gypsy says in “Lineage”: “Words, they’re nothing. It’s better you had love.” These poems, fierce and billowing, are such a gift.
—Mary Oliver, 1999 T. S. Eliot judge