The Idea of Him by Charles Flowers
The Idea of Him by Charles Flowers
The Idea of Him by Charles Flowers

The Idea of Him by Charles Flowers

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"Charles Flowers’ long-awaited collection, The Idea of Him, evokes the implacable power of desire, from its earliest appearance in boyhood to the ache of adult experience. These wrenchingly honest, beautifully felt poems make clear nothing less than the soul hunger that lies deep in the body’s dreams."

–Joan Larkin

"In The Idea of Him, this first volume of superb lyric testimonies, we meet the adolescent male body awakening into a forbidden sexuality, then its adult counterpart abandoned by casual encounters, aggrieved by this constancy of loss, barely sustained by a wish to regain connection with paradise through the meager portions of love afforded by ordinary life. Yet it is poetry itself, its compassionate and yet elegiac meditations more sensitive than any lover’s touch, that fulfills this chronic wanting, the work full of awakened tenderness as though the universe of stars that Rilke once imagined had bent down and kissed the shining hair of its own miraculous newborn. This exceedingly mature poetry is full of these moments, cast in strophes supple as a lover’s milkshirt of skin. Charles Flowers is our own terrible angel, possessed of an unbearable raiment of light that allows no shadow. The Idea of Him shines with angelic orders of extraordinary love."

—Garrett Hongo


"In The Idea of Him, Charles Flowers is true to the lifelong, unrelenting force of desire that can emerge any place, anywhere--the longing that makes others 'instruments of safety and respite,' and also offers the exquisite pain and beauty of 'the pull of flesh toward flesh.' If you have known desire's 'strange closeness'–in the flesh or in the mind alone--you will find yourself somewhere in these poems."

–Minnie Bruce Pratt


Charles Flowers graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vanderbilt University and received his MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon. His poems have appeared in Puerto Del Sol, Barrow Street, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, and Assaracus.  He was the founder and editor of BLOOM, a journal for LGBT poetry, prose, and art, which Edmund White called “the most exciting new queer literary publication to emerge in years.” Charles has served in a leadership capacity at the Academy of American Poets, Lambda Literary Foundation, and Arts for LA, the regional arts advocacy organization. Currently, he serves as the Poet Laureate for the City of West Hollywood (October 2018 - October 2020).


Pub Date: 15 June 2020


Author photograph © Tony Coehlo