This "portable Carruth" gathers the essential poems from a major American poet. Toward the Distant Islands presents lyrics, short and long narratives, comic, meditative, erotic poems, and reflections on the natural world. Ever engaged with radical politics, rural poverty, and the poet's cultural responsibility, Carruth's work is alive with a rare courage and clear eyed conviction. Over his prolific and celebrated writing career, Hayden Carruth has been one of the most rigorous and inventive technicians of a generation that has been acknowledged for its brilliance and variety. Like the jazz he so loves, his poetry ranges from the formal to the spontaneous, from local speech to righteous oratory, from sublime complexity to elegant understatement. This volume features an introduction by Carruth's longtime friend and editor, Sam Hamill. Book jacket.