In The Feral Condition, Gaylord Brewer explores a polarity in nature that seems to encompass the views of both Hobbes and Rousseau. As he searches at home and abroad through the feral world, which includes some humans, he experiences its beauty and mystery but also its persistent, unsparing violence—“A goldfinch greets with melancholy song! / Meanwhile, every step another bloodbath.” This external polarity reflects an inner one in which he feels both a part of nature and separate from it. He finally achieves an intimate connection that, however fleeting, darkish, and imperfect, fulfills. But the most striking elements in this collection come from Brewer’s great heart, sharp eye, and lyric brilliance.
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