Within Light by Arthur DeHart

The cover of Within Light by Arthur DeHart: a black background with flowers on top.

Within Light is a collection of poetry that combines love and longing with the harsher realities that surround them. What particularly stands out when first reading is the love poems in the collection, in various forms, from the eye-opening point of ‘Catch Your Breath’ to the realities of ‘Dirt’, and also the tiny moments of love that are suffused throughout most of the poems, including those talking about mental health. It is a collection that doesn’t idealise love, but presents it as both mundane and life-sustaining, and also a method of queer people forming the lives they want to live.

I also enjoyed the poems about being a poet or poetry running throughout the collection, a musing on what it means to be a writer but also how sustainable it is, and the amount of wishing and hoping that comes along with being a poet (particularly as I too find myself ending up writing poetry about writing poetry too often). One of my favourite poems in the collection is ‘Sunday’, which reclaims the day from a religious past and offers a laziness that can come post-transformation, both of the narrator and of the day itself.

Within Light is a tender collection that still has raw moments, exploring what love can mean and what a poet can be.

(Within Light is forthcoming from Kith Books in March 2023)