Rustin Larson is courageous in that he is not willing to take refuge in the ordinary. His poetry has been described as "stylistically diverse," but as this comprehensive collection demonstrates, the style of his work is not applied as a matter of form; rather, it is derived from the nature of the poems themselves. So the reader's experience is one of wholeness, of the seamless expression of style, idea, imagery, emotion, and message. I read a lot of poetry, and believe me, it has been pure pleasure to immerse myself in The Wine-Dark House.
-James A. Autry
The Wine-Dark House is a triumph by Rustin Larson. The poems are evocative and finely wrought, brimming with detailed, sensual images and delicately crafted lines. The poet leads us gently, yet with a firm purpose, on a tour of shadowed memory, both distant and more recent, that explores memory's hard truth. Yet, with patience, he leads us to the seductive comforts of memory. The poems entertain with an informed point of view. They always have that "click" close readers need to beckon them back for a second and third sampling of their writer's careful and rigorous craft.
With consummate skill, inspired wit, and a rare compassion, the poems of The Wine-Dark House observe, reflect, and startle, reminding us of the necessary human endeavor to both honor and challenge the occasions of our daily lives. At once courageously personal and generously universal, the compelling poetry of Rustin Larson embodies ". . . an accumulation of hungers / as old as fire."
Rustin Larson is a terrific, elegant, original poet whose voice rings so truly we become better people just by reading him.
-Naomi Shihab Nye