Archive | Reviews

Anchor in the Shadows: Bill Coyle on Tomas Tranströmer

(Editor’s Note: As it was announced today that Tomas Tranströmer had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, the editors of the CPR thought it fitting to re-post this fine review of his work by Bill Coyle from 2009.)

Reviewed: The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robin Fulton.continue reading...

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Good Bone Structure: Maryann Corbett on Charles Martin

Reviewed: Signs and Wonders by Charles Martin. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011. 74 pages.

To publish a collection of new poems late in a distinguished career is a slightly anxious proposition, both for the poet and for readers.… continue reading...

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Adventures in Scholarship: Garrick Davis on the Textbook Understanding Poetry

Reviewed: Understanding Poetry by Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren. 1st edition, 1938. 2nd edition, 1950. 3rd edition, 1960. 4th edition, 1976.


What was the most important literature textbook of the 20th century?… continue reading...

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An American Way to Go: John Foy on Peter Balakian

Reviewed: Ziggurat by Peter Balakian. University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Peter Balakian’s poetry is a “strange brew of wind and light” distilled to one degree or another from primal trauma.… continue reading...

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Rick Joines on the Gravity and Levity of Kay Ryan

Reviewed: The Best of It: New and Selected Poems by Kay Ryan. Grove Press, 2011. 288 pages. $14.95.

Kay Ryan’s pulling-herself-up-by-her-own-muddied-Blundstone-bootstraps-story is already the stuff of legend. … continue reading...

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Crick-Crossed: Quincy Lehr on Ben Mazer

Reviewed: A City of Angels: A Verse Play in Three Acts by Ben Mazer. Cy Gist Press, 2011

A verse drama—particularly when encountered, not on stage, but in a limited edition chapbook—has a tall order in front of it.… continue reading...

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Masterful Variations: Luke Hankins on Ashley Anna McHugh

Reviewed: Into These Knots by Ashley Anna McHugh. Ivan R. Dee, 2010. 68 pp. Hardcover. $22.50. Winner of the 2010 New Criterion Poetry Prize.

In Ashley Anna McHugh’s “All Other Ground Is Sinking Sand” (“On Christ the solid rock I stand” goes the previous line of the hymn this title is taken from), a villanelle addressed to the speaker’s father, we find ourselves at the ailing father’s bedside and learn that he has a bedsore that has turned gangrenous:

Doctors say that he could die: They have to hurry,

might amputate.… continue reading...

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Don Paterson’s Improbable Distances

Reviewed:  Rain by Don Paterson. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009. 61 pages.

What we most love we must lose. That implacable fact of human existence is the ground bass of Don Paterson’s excellent book Rain.… continue reading...

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Short Cuts: Roy Nicosia on a Post-Dementia Poet

Reviewed: Sunday Houses the Sunday House by Elizabeth Hughey. University of Iowa Press, 2006. (Winner of the 2006 Iowa Poetry Prize.)

Forty years ago, Randall Jarrell sadly proclaimed that the gods who had taken away the poet’s readers had replaced them with students.… continue reading...

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The Poem as Devotional Practice: Luke Hankins on the Metaphysical Poets

Scholarship noted: Love’s Architecture: Devotional Modes in Seventeenth-Century English Poetry by Anthony Low. New York University Press, 1978.

I. A Lasting Model?

Certain religious poets of 17th-century England, often called the “Metaphysical” poets, have gained as firm a place in the Western canon as any group of poets enjoys today.… continue reading...

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