Sentenced to Life delivers a big bang of meaning and connection, rich space to explore if we are equal to the challenge of discovery, if we will take the time. These poems are not heavy or difficult but they are profound. They take on the important themes – mortality, love, regret, exile – and speak to us of grief and loss, of uncertainty. The collection was meant as a farewell and a reckoning of sorts – James tells us this – but the poems have everything we expect from him: lightness of touch, effortless mastery of form, erudition, clarity, wit. A thread of kindness runs through them as well. They are a joy to read.