What lies behind much of the lyric poems in Where the Lighthouse Begins is a motivating sense of loss: in some poems, a dead father, an aging mother, a troubled brother; or, in other poems, a conflict, such as a war. The natural world also plays a major role, as a redeeming force, often in the form of the birds that are so much a part of the poet's life. Sometimes, too, humor is present as a source of relief. By the end of the book, readers may feel that the mystery of time is perhaps the most fundamental theme.
Praise for Timothy Houghton’s previous books
When sympathy goes with discernment, as in these poems, the light in things and events seems to turn up, and our wakened consciousness feels "hungry" for the new brightness.
A. R. Ammons
Sono ben felice di presentare ai lettori italofoni questo volume di Timothy Houghton, a mio avviso tra i piu significativi poeti statunitensi contemporanei. (I'm happy to present [him] to Italian readers. I believe he is one of the most significant contemporary American poets.)
Stepping into [these poems] can be unnerving in the way entering a house where nothing is plumb disturbs. Here there are windows and doors, the familiar objects of our lives, but the panes contain spectral flaws, the hinges groan in voices we'd rather not recognize.
R. G. Evans The Literary Review
…a nostro avviso molto piu denso del piu fortunato in Italia Mark Strand o di Jorie Graham. (…by our lights he is more substantial than Mark Strand, who has much success in Italy, or Jorie Graham.)
Amedeo Anelli il Cittadino
…it is a revelation to encounter the poetry of Timothy Houghton…composed at the intersections of personal history, the natural world, science, and intellectual tradition where there is a precise sense of line and rhythm to create poems which inhabit the world and are in turn inhabited by the world.
James Sutherland-Smith Stand