Ascending Order is the work of a poet who has thought hard about the circumstances of his past and present, and found an attitude, part concerned and part amused, that serves him well in both his life and his art. The poems in William Greenway’s new book range widely, from memories of childhood and family through meditations on works of art, from humorous topics such as the cars in Hell’s garage or a dead celebrity golf tournament to deep-felt contemplations of cultures American and otherwise or the ailments of middle age and the shadows of mortality. But whether the subject are serious or playful, the rich vision and inventive language displayed in these poems are Greenway’s alone.
William Greenway keeps a watchful eye on the human condition, from sex and religion to points in between, with a sensibility sharp enough to miss none of our foibles and embracing enough to forgive them all. The poems express amazement at life’s odd turns that sometimes leave us bereft and lonely, and sometimes surprise us by sudden grace and abundance. In the end, Ascending Order is a book of warm compassion for all we suffer and endure, with gratitude for everything that moves us beyond our troubles towards a higher light.