Archive | Reviews

Ahead Was Silence: Matthew Buckley Smith on Louise Glück

Reviewed: Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Glück. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014. Reading a good poem by Louise Glück is like taking a slap to the face in a large, cold bathroom. Resonant, if not always enjoyable. A psychiatrist told me once that the depressed often speak with an odd combination of flatness and exuberance, […]

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Of Man & Beast: Rick Joines reviews Mark Wunderlich

Reviewed: Mark Wunderlich, The Earth Avails, Graywolf Press, 2014. 71 pages. $15.00 Mark Wunderlich is a poet of remarkable skill and range. His best poems are lyrical observations of the shared essence of man and of beast, of their taste for brutality, and of their struggles with the cruelties of nature and of one another. […]

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Dancing In Borrowed Time: Bill Coyle on Andrew Sofer

Reviewed: Wave by Andrew Sofer. Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2010. 63 pages, $14.00   The epigraph to Andrew Sofer’s debut collection of poetry comes from Yehuda Amachai—“And for the sake of remembering  / I wear my father’s face over mine”—and it could hardly be more apt. Among other things, the quotation prepares readers for […]

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A Variety of Courage: John Foy on Gerry Cambridge’s Notes for Lighting a Fire

  If lighting a fire on a winter night is a way of staying alive, then so, one feels, was the writing of the poems in Gerry Cambridge’s new book, Notes for Lighting a Fire. These poems are filled with light and heat. They are often about light and staving off darkness and cleaving to […]

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All Messed Up: G.M. Palmer on Matthew Dickman

Reviewed: Mayakovsky’s Revolver by Matthew Dickman. Norton, 2012. Shot full of suicides, clichés, and sex, Matthew Dickman’s Mayakovsky’s Revolver is a collection of poems not unlike A Confederacy of Dunces—a mediocre work made important by personal tragedy.  In Dickman’s case, as evidenced by the back cover, the suicide of his older brother. While there is […]

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The Moving Scene: The Poetry of Descriptions

In one of the great misreadings of one poet by another, John Keats complained to his publisher that, in the poetry of John Clare, “the Description too much prevailed over the Sentiment.” For his part, Clare felt that Keats’s  “descriptions of scenery are often very fine but as it is the case with other inhabitants […]

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A Claptrap Canon: On the Modern Canadian Poets Anthology by Zachariah Wells

Reviewed: Modern Canadian Poets: An Anthology of Poems in English. Todd Swift and Evan Jones, editors. Carcanet Press, 2010. 260 pages, $32.95   Anthologies, particularly those dedicated to presenting the poetry of a particular stretch of geopolitical space-time, are, by necessity, Procrustean beds. Thousands of poets producing work over many decades get pruned to a […]

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Monsters All the Way Down: Bill Coyle on Bruce Taylor

Reviewed: No End in Strangeness: New and Selected Poems by Bruce Taylor. Cormorant Books, 2011.   There’s a marvelous description in Book X of Paradise Lost of the astronomical and climatological changes that accompany the Fall, and of the beginnings of predation among the animals.  Milton is more concerned there with the vast scales that […]

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A Neglected Master in Our Midst: Bill Coyle on Daryl Hine

Reviewed: Recollected Poems by Daryl Hine. Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2009. 246 pages. & by Daryl Hine. Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2010. 112 pages.   When Daryl Hine’s Recollected Poems was published in 2009 it marked something of a comeback for a poet who in the mid 1990s had turned his back on the publishing industry and […]

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Too Cool for School: G. M. Palmer on Broetry

Reviewed: Broetry by Brian McGackin. Quirk Books, 2011. $12.95 Broetry’s title jumps into a spot your mind didn’t know was there. Sure, you know “bros” and you know “poetry,” and it somehow seems more than natural for a book called Broetry to appear in your hands. And when it does appear, the first thing you […]

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