Thirty-Six is about loss and healing, faith and ritual. In particular, it explores a son's relationship with his father during the father's battle with cancer, and examines the family's reactions to his eventual death.
In her introduction to the book, Glenna Luschei (founder of Solo Press, Café Solo and Solo) writes: "Throughout these quiet, loving and humorous poems about a father, the reader comes to know why such a person ensures the survival of the generation. The book is filled with memories of comfort that make it especially meaningful to read in times of grief."
The Finger of God
A cloud points, stretched like a finger before the full moon The world, standing accused, hides silently in shadow For now these dreams we chase across the night will quickly fade.
We become, without strong faith, more comfortable with our doubts than in the company of false hope, pulling up the blankets to our necks against the chill at dawn, the open window.
Review: "The sure touch of death and grief made these poems, their clarity and eloquence rising from the pain that gave them birth. The final poem ('The Box of My Father's Clothes') has the quality of an epic descent to the dead, in this case in the surviving son's bedroom."
"Unabashedly emotional, this is poetry of the deepest sentiment, as full of moving truths as it is full of invention...illumined by the transformative power of the poet's language."
"Steven Sher is our guide to love and affection in this fallen world, and in Thirty-Six he faithfully leads us through a landscape of muted pleasures and painful losses. In this age of hustle and hype, his soft-pitched and steady voice is just what we need."
"[Steven Sher's poems] have a beautiful sense of detail, and the feeling of family (particularly fatherhood, both sides of it) is moving indeed."
-John M. Daniel
Bio: STEVEN SHER is the author of eight previous books of poetry and prose, including Flying through Glass and Traveler's Advisory. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he lives in Oregon with his wife and two children.