Posted on 16 March 2011
Reviewed: Shoulder Season by Ange Mlinko. Coffee House Press, 2010. 81 pages. If Shoulder Season were a town, it would be a deserted one. All evidence of life—buildings, boardwalks, beds and tables, monuments and blankets, pots of flowers, tools, cars and cribs—would be left intact, the people gone. The only sound would be a voice emanating […]
Posted on 07 March 2011
Making the Angels Wince Reviewed: The Making of a Matriot by Frances Payne Adler. Red Hen Press, 2003. 100 pages, $13.95. The Making of a Matriot is the sort of book that makes one embarrassed for poets in general, and Frances Payne Adler in particular. The author, who directs something called “the Creative Writing and Social […]
Posted on 07 February 2011
Reviewed: every riven thing by Christian Wiman. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010. 93 pages. From its hardcover heft and granite-engraved dust jacket (remove the jacket and a black, bible-like, hardback cover is revealed), to its ivory paper stock and black section divider pages (complete with roman numerals blazoned in white), every riven thing announces the […]
Posted on 10 January 2011
Mary Jo Bang’s new book, The Bride of E, is a disorderly book. It’s disorderly in a fascinating way, though: it’s a fractured abecedarian. An abecedarian is like the dictionary, that most orderly of books: sacrificing everything—plot, character, thematic arc, etc—to the unrelenting order of the alphabet. An alphabet, then, is writing with order but no sense. Most abecedarian books do not so exploit this inherent potential for senselessness, but Bang’s new book works this potential artfully and resonantly to convey a life devastated by meaninglessness and disorientation. It’s a strange, difficult, and beautiful book.
Posted on 21 December 2010
Reviewed: Peregrinary by Eugeniusz Tkaczszyn-Dycki, translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston, Zephyr Press, 2008, $14.95 Translator Bill Johnston observes that Eugeniusz Tkaczszyn-Dycki’s hyphenated last name is a bit much even for Poles, and I follow their (and Johnston’s) custom in referring to the poet henceforth as Dycki—pronounced Dits-kee. However difficult his name may appear […]
Posted on 17 November 2010
If you were paying attention this summer, you know that for most of the world, football is a game in which players kick the ball strategically around a large grassy area and ultimately into a goal at one end of the field.
Posted on 14 November 2010
There are a number of striking similarities between these books: for starters, there’s the preference both poets display for traditional meters and forms, as well as the variety of those forms—sestinas, sonnets (Petrarchan, Shakespearean, terza rima and otherwise ) blank verse, rondeaux, villanelles.
Posted on 31 July 2010
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.
Posted on 23 July 2010
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.
Posted on 23 July 2010
Unless very skillfully choreographed, interviews with poets are at best temporizing exercises (to show one is still alive creatively); at worst, a crushing bore.