Searching for Home, Robert Pack’s splendid twenty-second collection of poems, written largely during his last year of life, centers on the search for meaning. At its heart are sequences of poems about three figures, each a seeker after some physical or conceptual home where uncertainties are overcome.
- Charles Darwin circumnavigates the world and gleans the evidence for his theory of evolution but seems to sanction a godless world of randomness and struggle.
- Escaping Nazis, Albert Einstein immigrates to America, where he fights for peace while unsuccessfully trying to prove his unified field theory.
- The poet’s scholarly Uncle Phil flees to America from Russia’s pogroms, where he lives in reduced circumstances and longs to relocate to Israel.
The search for meaning informs other deeply felt poems, likewise rendered in supple metrical language, as well as themes of empathy, peace, and the beauty of nature—pushbacks against disappointment, mortality, and the human propensity for cruelty and violence. It is a landscape dotted with remembered moments of joy and wonder: otters slide down a muddy slope, kids put on a hilarious version of The Odyssey, a dog teases a little boy. . . . Searching for Home is both a vision of Pack’s own odyssey and his final testament to what matters.