Archive | July, 2007

Tracing the Root of Metastasis

As Reviewed By: Maria Johnston Horse Latitudes by Paul Muldoon. Faber, £14.95, 107 pp. Paul Muldoon’s tenth poetry collection Horse Latitudes arrived at the close of 2006 together with hisThe End of the Poem: Oxford Lectures on Poetry, a collection of lectures delivered during his time as Professor of Poetry at Oxford. The latter is a […]

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The Other Wiman

As Reviewed By: Sunil Iyengar The Long Home by Christian Wiman. Story Line Press, 1998. Hard Night by Christian Wiman. Copper Canyon Press, 2005. When the mantle of Poetry editor descended on the 37-year-old Christian Wiman in 2003, many a poet-critic burned with envy. Never had the garb seemed so attractive: with a share of Ruth […]

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Pretty Pieces: Joan Houlihan on Nathaniel Bellows

Reviewed: Why Speak? by Nathaniel Bellows. W.W. Norton, 2007. 110 pages. Why speak? A good question. But this debut collection provokes more specific questions: In what way are these poems not short, short, stories? What governs their line breaks? Where is the power of trope, concision, sound, rhythm, the one right image that radiates from […]

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I Sense Your Disdain, Darling: Frederick Seidel

Seidel is a triumphant outsider in American poetry. He does not give readings (he “loathes” them), though one may hear excellent recordings of poems from his new book Ooga-Booga at Writing in the New York Sun, Adam Kirsch suggested that Seidel “may be” the best American poet writing today; though hedged, this is a strong bet. Seidel’s most successful techniques, according to Kirsch, are “mystification and outrage.” Kirsch earlier wrote in a 2003New Republic review that Seidel is “transgressive, not in the fashionable way of the seminar but in the disturbing way of the nightmare.” Writing in the Boston Review, Calvin Bedient, editor of avant-garde magazine Volt, depicted Seidel as “the most frightening American poet ever,” and Philip Connors wrote in the young magazinen+1 that Seidel is “willing to say the unsayable.” Richard Poirier, critic and editor ofRaritan, remarked in the late 1990s that Seidel’s poetry contains “complications of a sort that I don’t feel are exhibited in any other of the contemporary poets.” Seidel’s own editor at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Jonathan Galassi, admits that the poetry is “uncompromising to the point of cruelty.”

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The Cantankerous Contrarian

As Reviewed By: Andrew Goodspeed John Berryman: Selected Poems, edited by Kevin Young. Library of America, 2004. Kevin Young’s admirable edition of John Berryman’s verse (for the Library of America’s American Poets Project) meets the primary expectations readers may bring to a new edition of Berryman’s selected poetry. It offers a responsibly chosen representative sampling […]

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The Waking Chant of Sunrise: Kevin Ducey

As Reviewed By: Andrew Goodspeed Rhinoceros by Kevin Ducey. American Poetry Review. $23.00 Kevin Ducey’s great strength is his daring. He frequently appears silly, he risks silliness in his work, and this silliness sometimes succeeds admirably. Few modern poets have that sense of daring, and it is a point to Ducey’s credit that he has […]

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“Yes, I used to drive with my eyes closed”: Ernest Hilbert Interviews Erica Dawson

EH: The architect Frank Lloyd Wright once wrote that “the truth is more important than the facts.” What does this statement mean to you?

ED: Because I readily admit that much of my book is autobiographical, my family likes to quibble about the details of some of the poems. Every time my parents are present for a reading of “Bees in the Attic,” for example, a discussion of the way “it really happened” always follows. Was the hive really right above my bed? Who discovered the noise first? I remind them of the idea of poetic license and we move on. Similarly, when my mom read “DrugFace” the first time, she was concerned, asking about what (again) “really happened.” I gave a similarly evasive answer, something like, “Yes, I used to drive with my eyes closed, but nobody’s ever asked me what’s my sign.” For me, much of the energy of a poem is in the details, but those details aren’t necessarily facts, though they are true to the situation of the poem and true to the feelings it invokes. In that way, all of “DrugFace” is as true, or as factual, to me as the actual night when I drove around Columbus, Ohio inebriated.

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