Archive | July, 2010

An Ellipsis Experiencing Phantom Excitement In a Sentence Limb

First, a problem of definition. This latest catch-all of Amy Gerstler’s, Ghost Girl, is really less a “book of poems” as such than it is a bringing together, a propulsive gleaning of all the notions of a poetic nature that happened to pass her way since Medicine, her last such collection and the eleventh to appear before the one under review.

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A Glint of Bullion Hefted

When even a very fine poet is able to lob twenty-five volumes of verse into circulation in no more than twice that number of years, there are bound to be, as age withers and custom stales, trace-amounts of dross visible amid the threads of gold and silver.

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Lost in the Cave of the Mouth

Unless very skillfully choreographed, interviews with poets are at best temporizing exercises (to show one is still alive creatively); at worst, a crushing bore.

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Chalkboard Dyspepsias & Intransitive Decantings

Music and Suicide is Jeff Clark’s fourth book of poems and its advance billing in publishers’ blurbs seizes glowingly on this poet’s growing reputation as an “unclassifiable classic in underground American writing.”

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The Interpres-sive Lowell 

Three years ago the Collected Poems everyone was talking about was J. D. McClatchy’s James Merrill; last year it was Czeslaw Milosz’s; and in 2003, the duple bounty of Paul Keegan‘s Ted Hughes and Frank Bidart’s and David Gewanter’s Robert Lowell is the talk of many towns.

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Nothing in Excess and Decorum as its Own Reward

Now the Green Blade Rises by Elizabeth Spires. W. W. Norton and Co., 2004. $12.95. As Reviewed By: James Rother Since 1981, when her first collection of poems, Globe (1981), made her name a watchword for serenity and poise, Elizabeth Spires has seen her body of work not just praised, but held up as a […]

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Where Minutiae Outweigh Aeons

Generations, the title of Pattiann Rogers’s new book of poems, is not one seized upon lightly. She has come to it, having entered upon the mysteries it entails over some eight books of poetry that span nearly a quarter-century.

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To Play Noughts & Crosses with Weighty Matters

“Thinking poets,” if the prevailing folklore is to be believed, are not just thin on the ground, few and far between, and countable only on thumbs; they are rarer even than hens’ false teeth, and with the passing of such giants as A. R. Ammons in recent years, an endangered subspecies.

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The Untempered Clavier of Carl Phillips

There have always been poets—all right, there have always been a few poets—who, as was said of the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, could produce examples of their art as effortlessly as an apple tree produces apples.

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The Problems of Prosody

Why Quality Control in Poetry Need Not Be Blindsided by Traditionalism As Reviewed By: James Rother For decades now, responsible elements within the critical community have disagreed over how to save American poetry from itself. The matter vs. antimatter struggle pitting “strong measures” Parnassians against anything-goes free versers has lost little of its rancor after […]

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