Reading Sand: Selected Desert Poems, 1976-2000

The ascetic and enigmatic vastness of the Great Basin has challenged the talents of many writers, but few have met the challenge as successfully as William L. Fox. In Reading Sand, Fox's elegant minimalist poems capture the essence of the Great Basin desert-its daunting emptiness, the passage of light and wind across its surfaces, its colors and textures, its silence. In perforated object, the collection's central piece, Fox uses a mysterious pierced-horn artifact discovered in Nevada's Humboldt Cave as the subject of an extended meditation on the nature of history and the absolute inscrutability of the Great Basin's complex past. The result is an intellectually provocative and aesthetically moving work of a lean grandeur rarely found in recent poetry. Fox, whose profound and insightful essays on the Great Basin have found many readers, is here at the top of his form as a poet. In Reading Sand, the Great Basin has found a voice both terse and eloquent, a voice worthy of this grand subject.