When I read the poetry collection Noon until Night by Richard Hoffman, I said to myself, “Damn, this is one wise dude.” I think Hoffman has a way of reporting back to us through his own scars, displaying the bullshit we will encounter, and then he tells us in an avuncular way, “Move on.”
Hoffman is a Senior Writer in Residence at Emerson College in Boston, the author of two memoirs and several collections of poetry. I will be teaching his harrowing and artistically rendered memoir of childhood abuse Half the House at Endicott College this fall.
I think to a great extent we try to figure out the puzzle of our fathers in order to understand ourselves. In the poem A Face in the Ceiling Hoffman pens a wonderful paragraph (among others) – a scene – a set – that captures the complexities, the sorrows of a father, and his need and attempt for transcendence. And there is a boy beside him who intuitively senses this, and tries to bring him out of his malaise: