In "First Things When", Robert Rehder views the modern world - our world - with a cool wit. Insights deadly despite a self-deprecating ruefulness spark into view. Rehder's poems inhabit the invented, rootless places that modern society creates: supermarkets, airports and parking garages; the illusory communities of celebrity and the digital universe: 'Instead of friends you have email'. There everyone is on first-name terms - 'What are they trying to hide?' Rehder's humour acknowledges his complicity and skewers the fake and the absurd.The small Swiss village of Corminboeuf where the poet lives is both a comic and mythic location for a life. Throughout the collection, luminous, poignant poems return us to a larger world that sustains and, precariously, endures: the fading splendour of Venice, a culture we are in danger of discarding, and a series of poems on the mysterious, transforming power of snow. These are poems of everyday things, remembering and forgetting, movies, coffee mugs and the beauty of the natural world.
ROBERT REHDER's books include Wordsworth and the Beginnings of Modern Poetry (1981), The Poetry of Wallace Stevens (1988), Stevens, Williams, Crane and the Motive for Metaphor (2004), and he has edited A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Charlotte Charke (1999). His first books of poems was The Compromises Will Be Different (1995). He holds the chair of English and American Literature at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.