Sander’s images serve as a strangely engaging roadmap to the possibilities that exist within any moment, and the voices that echo through Kirsch’s singular language serve to remind us of our own splendidly imperfect humanity.
Each poem sits opposite one of [August] Sander’s images. The combination is penetrating. The fate of the individual in each photograph is unknown. In muscular yet wistful language, Kirsch leads each viewer to imagine it.
He concludes too many poems, including otherwise promising ones like 'Mother and Child' and 'Village Schoolteacher,' with a moralizing thud, an effect that belies the curiosity and openness in Sander’s photography. [But] [n]one of this detracts from Kirsch’s willingness to learn from a great artist who worked in another medium.