Saturday, August 16, 2008

Poetry Book Review Index.

PUT ON THAT PARTY-CRASHING DRESS. A review of Lilies Without, by Laura Kasischke. Ausable Press.

Laura Kasischke's latest poetry collection, Lilies Without, offers unsettling charms. [Go to the Review>>>]

ARMED WITH VERSE. Reviews of The Baghdad Blues, Sinan Antoon (Harbor Mountain Press), The War Works Hard, Dunya Mikhail. trans. by Elizabeth Winslow (New Directions Publishing) and Here, Bullet, Brian Turner (Alice James Books).

With recent collections of war poetry in his bag, an ex-soldier returns to Afghanistan. [Go to the Review>>>]

THEY TELL THE TRUTH, BUT TELL IT SLANT. Reviews of Decreation: Poetry, Essays, Opera, by Anne Carson (Alfred A. Knopf) and Scar Tissue, by Charles Wright (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

Poets Anne Carson and Charles Wright revise and refresh the usual ways of seeing the world. [Go to the Review>>>]

GHOSTS, SEX, AND PHYSICS: Devin Johnston & Pattiann Rogers. Reviews of Aversions, by Devin Johnston (Omnidawn) and Firekeeper: Selected Poems, by Pattiann Rogers (Milkweed Editions).

In poem after poem Johnston turns away from the world at hand and moves into a kind of hushed borderland, even as he redirects our attention to the here and now. Like the filmmaker Stan Brakhage, to whom he pays homage, this poet can't get enough of those seemingly mundane spots in time when some subtle presence arrives, thrumming in over the wires. [Go to the Review>>>]

GHOSTS, SEX, PHYSICS: J.D. McClatchy & Anne Stevenson. Reviews of Poets of the Civil War, ed. by J.D. McClatchy (The Library of America) and Poems 1955-2005, by Anne Stevenson (Dufour Editions).

What makes this collection of Civil War poets so valuable is the power with which it disrupts that trend, corroborating William Faulkner's claim that "The past is not dead. It is not even past." [Go the the review>>>]

Moxie and Dreams by D. H. Tracy. Feminine Gospels, by Carol Ann Duffy. Faber and Faber, 2005, and Burnt Island, by D. Nurkse, Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.

I gather Carol Ann Duffy is the most popular poet in the UK, and the American publication of her seventh (adult) collection may be an opportunity to extend her empire. It could happen: Duffy's work is so rich that it can't help but be thoroughly of the place it was written in, but her consistent moxie, her affable rambunctiousness,... [Go to the Review>>>]

The Cosmic I

Present Company by W. S. Merwin
Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2005.
140 Pages. $22.00 cloth. ISBN 1556592272.

Mere months after Copper Canyon Press has released Migration, W. S. Merwin's selected poems (and recent winner of the 2005 National Book Award for Poetry), the volume is incomplete.... [Go to Review>>>]

True Stone and Epitaph: the Poetry of Pablo Neruda.
Gilbert Wesley Purdy.

The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems, Mark Eisner, Ed.
San Francisco: City Lights Publishers, 2004. 222 pages
ISBN 0-87286-428-6

The year 2004 is the centennial of the birth of the poet Pablo Neruda. As a result, the already considerable amount of work published annually by and about the poet has increased exponentially. City Lights' 100th birthday gift is The Essential Neruda, a selection of poems, edited by Mark Eisner, a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Center for Latin American Studies. [
Go to the review>>>]

Pierce Butler, Fanny Kemble, et al.
by Gilbert Wesley Purdy.

The Weeping Time: Elegy in Three Voices by Christopher Conlon.
Washington, D.C.: Argonne House Press, 2004.
138 pp. $19.95 paper. ISBN 1-887641-18-1.

In March of 1859, Pierce Butler, a Philadelphian, wealthy by virtue of two plantations in Georgia, auctioned some 430 of his slaves in one of the largest such sales in American history. That auction became known as 'The Weeping Time'. The poet Christopher Conlon memorializes that day with a book of poems bearing the same name. Butler is of further historical interest by virtue of his rocky marriage to the famous English actress, Fanny Kemble,... [
Go to the Review>>>]

A Word Association Test
Gilbert Wesley Purdy.

Words Brushed by Music ed. by John T. Irwin.
Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.
200 pp. $12.95 paper. ISBN 0-8018-8029-7. $27.50
hardcover. ISBN 0-8018-8028-9.

In 1979, while the poetry world as a whole was marching with ever greater determination towards quote-unquote free verse and one or another variation of anti-poetry, Johns Hopkins University Press staked out its own territory. Its new Poetry Series would provide a haven for poets who had chosen to write the only truly alternative poetry that remained: a poetry which stayed connected to the tradition of the craft.... [
Go to the Review>>>]

The Way of Mrs. Wei.
The Tao of Mrs. Wei by Hilary Tham
Washington, D.C.: The Bunny and Crocodile Press, 2003 different the world has become.
Mortal Arguments by Sue Sinclair.
London, Ontario: Brick Books, 2003.
Secrets of Weather and Hope by Sue Sinclair
London, Ontario: Brick Books, 2001.

Prima Materia.
The Feast: Prose Poem Sequences by Walter Bargen.
Kansas City: BkMk Press, 2004.

The Eye of the Beholder.
eye: poems and retina prints by Elizabeth Goldring.
Kansas City: BkMk Press, 2002.

The Vulgar Tongue
Churlsgrace by William Hathaway.
Gainsville: University of Florida Press, 1992.

Off-Site Reviews:

Fruitful Clutter
Gilbert Wesley Purdy.

In the Dark by Ruth Stone.
Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2004.
128 pages pp. $22.00 paper. ISBN 1-55659-210-8.

After her husband committed suicide in 1959, Ruth Stone moved into the house they had just purchased in Goshen, Vermont. It had been intended as a sanctuary in which the two would find the peace and serenity to write, a place to get away from the New York literary scene. She brought up their three daughters there. Some 46 years later she remains in the house, nearly deaf and all but blind. [
Read entire review>>>]