Simmer Dim is a book of roots and epiphanies, of travels that become an inward journey as the poet searches for origins familial and literary, finally discovering what Eliot found in his Four Quartets: "And the end of all our exploration / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time." Though the poems take us to many landscapes (in France, Greece, Italy, Ireland, England, Scotland, and along the swamps and shores of Florida and Louisiana) none is more important than Wales, with its coal pits and stony hills and resonant ghosts. William Greenway, during a year's stay there, meets his own history. Wales (the home of Dylan Thomas, whose influence made Greenway a poet, and the birthplace of his Methodist minister grandfather, whose coming to the America South led to Greenway's constricted upbringing as the son of a Baptist preacher) provokes a radical reconsideration of a life and love he thought he knew. It also reconfirms his hunger for language that will reveal the world and preserve it. In poems formal and free, Greenway speaks to us in a voice that has its own distinctive idiom, warm and wise and hard-won, showing us what he learned from his journeys: "who he was / and where he belonged."
University of Akron Press
Greenway, William, "Simmer Dim" (1998). The University of Akron Press Publications. 41.