Pub Date: February 2017
ISBN (Trade paper): 978-1-945680-04-5
A hybrid narrative incorporating archival material from the 1600s, Bright Advent gives flesh to a ghost of Early American history largely forgotten, specifically the dark and complicated story of the Massachusett Indian John Sassamon and the Puritan missionary John Eliot.
About the Author
Robert Strong is the founding editor of Poetic Research at Common-place and has received fellowships from the Massachusetts Historical Society and the American Antiquarian Society. Previous books include Puritan Spectacle, Joyful Noise: An Anthology, the chapbook Brethren: Order of the Seasons, and the conceptual fiction Manufact Hologram. He teaches at Bates College in Maine.
"Bright Adventís creative juxtaposition of archival and imaginative elements... is a provocation to re-examine the very nature of storytelling about the past.... By assuming the form of poetry for this re-engagement with the seventeenth century, Strong joins a conversation with a host of earlier poets who have plumbed aspects of the war, including Robert Lowell, Susan Howe, and Louise Erdrich, as well as local and tribal writers across the Northeast."
—from the introduction by historian Christine DeLucia, author of The Memory Lands: King Philip's War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast
"American history is most often rendered in prose, but perhaps it is best understood and best felt in poetry, or at least with the strong current of lyricism accompanying the narrative flow. Iím thinking of Whitman, or Benetís John Brownís Body, or Robert Penn Warrenís Brother to Dragons, or most recently, Claudia Rankineís Citizen. Here is a book to add to that distinguished tradition, an inquiry into Puritan history, oozing with imagery, stinging with metaphor, and shining with allegory. While this is a book of serious historical query, it is also a book of serious imagination. That makes me admire it all the more."
—Maurice Manning, author of A Companion for Owls
"An important contribution to the growing body of documentary-based work in contemporary poetry, Bright Advent beautifully displays the ways in which poetic language, with its oblique and multiplicitous relationship to meaning, can fundamentally change our relationship to knowledge, opening us up to new modes of perception and understanding. A stunning look at our nationís emergence and its tremendous moral cost."
—Cole Swensen, author of Landscapes on a Train
"Bright Advent is an absorbing meditation on colonization, religion, and war in Puritan Massachusetts. Robert Strong has created a book that is faithful to seventeenth-century language and history yet wholly accessible to the contemporary reader, both meticulously researched and formally inventive. A thrilling addition to the growing body of American historical poetry."
—Melissa Range, author of Scriptorium and Horse and Rider