Winner of the 2013 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry
Though the poems in Systems of Vanishing range widely in their content and form, the collection as a whole is grounded in its focus on the disappearances occurring all around us, all the time. Some of these disappearances are natural, organic vanishings that have always been central to life; others are unnatural, grief-inducing losses we are inflicting on the world—the vanishing of species, of beauties of all kinds, and of the rhythms by which we live most fully, replaced by noise and a lust for things. But Hettich’s poems are also infused with a profound gratitude for the pleasures and graces of his life—the amazing natural fecundity that surrounds him in his subtropical habitat, and the abiding love of family and friends. These poems explore not only the extraordinary variety and magnitude of loss, but also the great power of resilience and joy.
Chase Twitchell says of Hettich and Systems of Vanishing, “(His) authority, which is both modest and absolutely genuine, compels us to follow him into some wild what-ifs, which make for an exciting ride. His elegy for a lost daughter brought me to tears. The quiet magic of these poems is stunning and profound.”
Richard Blanco calls Systems of Vanishing Hettich’s “most profound and intricate collection to date.”
Michael Hettich is the author of twelve books and chapbooks of poetry, most recently The Measured Breathing, which won the 2011 Swan Scythe Press Award. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Orion, Poetry East, Alaska Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, Mudlark, and The Sun, as well as in many textbooks and anthologies, and he has collaborated widely with visual artists and musicians throughout Florida and nationally. He teaches at Miami Dade College.