Joseph Stanton is a poet of the visual. He willingly and often joyously assumes the ekphrastic stance, his poems moving seamlessly from an interpretation of Paul Gauguin's powerful Vision After the Sermon, in which Jacob grapples with an angel, to a series of poems exploring the alienated world of the twentieth century painter Edward Hopper with its emerging complexities and its journey into the dichotomies of the urban and the rural, the internal and the external. Through the revelatory lens of THINGS SEEN, Stanton observes the Noh theater tradition, analyzes the Brothers Grimm, and finalizes the collection with a series of observations about baseball as interpreted by paintings, his focus on America's favorite pastime illustrated with an exciting series of engagements. As eclectic as his varied subject matter may be, the basic theme of these meticulously wrought poems remains the same-vision-the act of creative seeing. In the Noh Variations poem "Aya no Tsumi," he writes, "I have spent my soul/on a glimpse of moon/through bare branches." This richly visual collection turns on Stanton's masterful transliteration of image after image into the essence of its own perceived light.
-Laverne and Carol Frith, editors of EKPHRASIS