The Glass Hammer, the fourth book of poems by the celebrated author of After the Lost War, is a southern narrative poem. It tells the story of a boy brought up in a military family in Texas and Alabama, and it is as rich in emotion and experience as any novel, as family life itself. In a sequence of sixty-five short lyrics, the narrator moves from the anecdotal circumstances of his infancy to the rebellions of his youth and adolescence, from the tragedy of his mother's death to the acceptance of his father's disciplinary love. This sequence of poems is human, solid, passionate, rueful, and eminently readable. It is as transparent as a mountain brook and moves as fast. It is as painful and powerful and surprising as first love and first loss.