Archive | Reviews

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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Further News from the Rear 

The career of John Ashbery continues the poetic perpetuum mobile of our time. At 75, and with a new book, Chinese Whispers, he may be rounding bases all too familiar from earlier collections; but home runs hit in relation to times at bat keep him well within the Sammy Sosa range of powerhouses, if not Barry Bonds’s.

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No More than Offhanded Grace Miraculously Transformed into an Ormulu…

New British Poetry. Edited by Don Paterson and Charles Simic. Graywolf Press, 2005. $16 As Reviewed By: James Rother It’s been a while since the relative healthiness of relations between poets on this side of the pond and those still lodged in the mother country have been top priorities with editors of American literary journals. […]

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Wrought Fiery-Hot Upon a Grillwork of Transformations

Western Art by Deborah Greger. Penguin Poets Series, 2004. $18. As Reviewed By: James Rother Debora Greger is one of those poets who can’t help obsessing about art’s hidden agenda—the one lurking beneath layers of veneration which for centuries have surrounded art with more awe and wonder than anything outside of revealed religion. Forget what […]

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The Swirling Crosswinds of a Made-up Metric

Alan Williamson, The Pattern More Complicated: New and Selected Poems. University of Chicago Press, 2004. 245 pp. As Reviewed By: James Rother At your next party, try this on your poetry-loving guests. Ask if they can identify the trendy work in a foreign language from which the following, titled “Fallings from Us, Vanishings,” has been […]

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Englishing Ovid

Concerning Some Recent Versions of the Metamorphoses by Ovid. As Reviewed By: James Rother [Unless otherwise attributed, all translations are the author’s.] It is remarkable, but hardly strange, that the works of Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso (better known as Ovid [43 B.C.-17 A.D.], and spanning the emperies of Augustus and Tiberius), have been enjoying […]

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