Archive | December, 2004

Justice’s Sentimental Journey

In Memoriam: Donald Justice (1925-2004) As Reviewed By: Sunil Iyengar I Thumbing at leisure through Donald Justice’s poems, one encounters several worthy candidates for an imagined memorial reading. Self-elegies stare from every other page. The best-known specimen, quoted in the obituaries, is “Variations on a Text by Vallejo”: Donald Justice is dead. One Sunday the […]

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Best Books of 2004: The CPR Awards

  Book of the Year: The Collected Poems of Donald Justice (Knopf) Runner-Up: Second Space by Czeslaw Milosz (Ecco). Inner Voices: Selected Poems by Richard Howard (FSG). Granted, this is not a daring choice. Donald Justice was beloved as a poet and teacher by several generations of American poets. Still, we’ll leave it to other […]

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In Memoriam: Hugh Kenner

Hugh Kenner (1923-2003) As Reviewed By: James Rother Just barely octogenarian (but grown wispy), Hugh Kenner, like the Romantic correspondent breeze he so adamantly eschewed in the prolonged swath through modernist studies he cut like a mighty wind, slipped away a year ago this past month, a legend diminished but certainly not obscured by the […]

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The Achievements of Anthony Hecht

Collected Earlier Poems by Anthony Hecht. Alfred A. Knopf, 1990. Collected Later Poems by Anthony Hecht. Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. As Reviewed By: Jan Schreiber For years I resisted the temptation to sum up Anthony Hecht’s work as a single, completed whole. I preferred to see it as an evolving organism, changing direction and emphasis […]

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In Memoriam: Thom Gunn

The Anglo-Californian Thom Gunn, who died this year at the age of 74, has been everywhere memorialized and for an expectedly diverse assortment of reasons, or causes, as they may be. In native quarters, he was beloved of his generation of English poets, an heir of Auden, a dashing young man who composed elegant poems about motorcycle gangs and smoky rooms in books like Fighting Terms and The Sense of Movement. However, the height of his popularity in the United States came later, with his enormously popular book of elegies on the first major ravages of the AIDs epidemic in the 1980s, Man With the Night Sweats. What appeals to these two transatlantic groups of readers might be quite distant when seriously considered, but the quality in Gunn’s poetry that magnetized them both is an exquisite combination: English grace and American coarseness (for lack of finer terms in both cases). He set more poems in rough bars than probably any poet aside from Charles Bukowski, who specialized in tales from that boozy milieu.

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The Many Truths of Michael Donaghy

Michael Donaghy (1954-2004) As Reviewed By: Katy Evans-Bush Imagine growing up in a society where one’s first and only experience of music occurred in a schoolroom, where the beauty of music was meticulously analysed and explained to you and where you were judged by your ability to explain it in turn. In one sense, of […]

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Czeslaw Milosz, an American

In Memoriam: Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004) As Reviewed By: Christopher Bakken In Letters from an American Farmer, frontier agrarian J. Hector St. John de Crevècoeur posits that Men are like plants; the goodness and flavor of the fruit proceeds from the peculiar soil and exposition in which they grow. We are nothing but what we derive […]

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