Category Archives: poetry

New Publication: Review of Erica Mena and Robert Fernandez

Hey folks, new review of Erica Mena’s Featherbone (Ricochet) and Robert Fernandez’s Pink Reef (Canarium) up this morning at Jacket2.

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New Publication: on Corina Copp and Ben Fama

Hey folks— my review of Corina Copp’s The Green Ray and Ben Fama’s Fantasy is up now in the new Kenyon Review Online. Enjoy!

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New Poems in The Stockholm Review of Literature

A batch of my poems are online now in the decentered and uncanny journal The Stockholm Review of Literature. Much gratitude to the editors. (While you’re there, please also discover and adore Andy Stallings’ excerpts from his book-length sequence Paradise.)

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New Publication: on Emily Wilson and Julie Carr

Dear follower-friends, happy to share that Kenyon Review Online recently published my review of Emily Wilson’s The Great Medieval Yellows and Julie Carr’s Think Tank. Enjoy!

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New Publication: on Frederick Seidel’s “Barbados”

Welcome to the nightmare! A reflection on one of the most ghastly poems of all time. Read all about it at Poetry Northwest.

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New Publication: a Review of Norman Dubie’s “The Quotations of Bone”

My review of Norman Dubie’s zillionth book of poems, The Quotations of Bone, is up now over at Poetry Northwest.

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#tbt: review of Samuel Amadon, Daniel Groves, Elizabeth Willis

Here’s a 2011-or-so piece I published online with Poetry Northwest that seems to have since dematerialized from their webspace. Enjoy.

Amadon, Samuel. Like a Sea. USA: University of Iowa Press, 2010.

Groves, Daniel. The Lost Boys. USA: University of Georgia Press, 2010.

Willis, Elizabeth. Address. USA: Wesleyan University Press, 2011.

 

HEADLANDS AND HEADSTONES: NEW BOOKS BY SAMUEL AMADON, DANIEL GROVES, AND ELIZABETH WILLIS

amadon-seaRobert Frost once asserted that the poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom—“the figure is the same as for love.” Samuel Amadon’s Like a Sea and Daniel Groves’s The Lost Boys, both debut collections, express delight through very different temperaments, and conclude (if that’s the right word) in wildly divergent sorts of intelligence. In her fifth book, Address, Elizabeth Willis delights in juxtaposition and slippage, seeming wiser through an adamant refusal of book-smarts.

A first look at Samuel Amadon’s poetry suggests the academic, ambiguous, “well-wrought” American poetry of the 1940s and 50s. You can hear Wallace Stevens in his inquisitive, investigative language:

 

Were I to ask where you were staying

would that be what moves our conversation

beyond whether repetition

has more to offer than repetition

will be enough when I say

it has been enough is not enough… (20)

 

But, as this quotation suggests, his syntax is oddly-wrought and tricky; his poems hazard more than they assert. What is enoughness, in speech, understanding, acquaintance? The tercets Amadon is fond of (also Stevens-y at first look) wobble beneath the reader like three-legged stools, preventing her from feeling entirely stable or balanced within the poems. This imbalance is most pleasurable when it matches the poems’ logical upsets, the back-and-forth of Amadon’s continuous present:

 

I could not sound like anyone to anyone,

but often meant to almost (as

rocking is from weaving) sound

 

local, as there should be more

local, I started staying here, how-

ever I sounded saying

 

I can be here again, saying it over

in a way so it piled, in a way

piling, as we cannot see it

 

ending, where it is from, the reason for

it is in fact frightening

to hear so much anywhere in anyone (39).

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