Deserts occupy almost one-third of the earth's land surface. Receiving less than ten inches of rain per year, they can be desolate and barren places. Yet they can display surprising bursts of beauty: mesquite bloom, wide blue sky, a mid-morning moon. Those who are open to Divine mystery are attracted to these harsh but wondrous places.

David Hinton is drawn to the desert's sparseness as a source of inner confrontation and renewal, observing that:

"… The less

this desert
is, the more I

want to live
my life
over again."

In Hinton's first poem in this collection, the coming of morning light leaves him speechless. Pondering a mountain, the poet makes a mystical leap and feels that he and the mountain are one.

In other poems, Hinton savors the wind, considers the beautiful complexity of weather patterns and intercontinental migrations, and marvels at the ways in which the night "keeps this wide world / open to me." Again and again, he revisits the emptiness which turns his poems into silence but also invites communion:

"… Come
with me. There is

So much
Less to
say here."

Hinton's previous books include Hunger Mountain, Existence, Fossil Sky, and many translations of classical Chinese poetry and philosophy. Desert marks his first collection of original poetry in more than a decade.