Guidebooks for the Dead by Cynthia Cruz - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781945588440
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Published: Four Way Books - March 2nd, 2020

Cruz continues to flesh out her own portrait in a series of poems and poem cycles recalling her kinship with writers and poets of yesteryear, in sharp conservative lines Cruz paints their woes in life and death. These moving poems invoke stellar, yet haunting images of Duras, Lispector, and Bachmann, among others, as she takes a page from Dante, writing herself into their "parade of wrong voices". - Pomegranate Alex Bell

In the Lateness of the World: Poems by Carolyn Forché - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780525560401
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Published: Penguin Press - March 10th, 2020

The poems in Carolyn Forché’s new collection keep coming to endings, in museums, cemeteries, and the body’s “briefly illumined” plots, each ending versed as "fields in bloom/but silent." Yet as with Forché's early work, "souls have their own world" in this work, ghosting a personal politic at those ends, and mapping an "unknown place as between languages” we all might understand. The poems read as if shaped of the "descendants of clouds" amid a "death darkening" world history, back across cities wherein their each speaker chronicles a history, the country of new beginnings.

Season of the Sorceress: Poetry and Prose by Melody Lee - Book Review

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By Melody Lee, Christine E. Ray (Editor), Mitch Green (Cover Design by)
ISBN: 9781732800038
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Published: Indie Blue Publishing LLC - February 28th, 2019

Dive into modern poetry with relatable and homey poems. Lee makes you feel like you could be a poet, too, as she knows the words we feel and want to say. Accessible to almost anyone, Lee deals with life, love, nature and more. Sketches throughout book accent the sections of poetry. ~ Reviewed by Jeanette

Why Poetry by Matthew Zapruder - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780062343086
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Published: Ecco - June 12th, 2018

There is no question mark in the title of this wonderful, provocative book: Why Poetry. And for good reason. According to Matthew Zapruder poetry not only plays a unique -- dare I say (my word) magical -- purpose in human culture but also in our individual human journeys through life by being "usefully useless"! In one of my favorite passages in the book, Zapruder describes a poets' job as "refusing to do what others find useful." Poetry is an antidote to our modern scientific materialistic culture that has become unbalanced: obsessed as it is with efficiency, reason, certainty, productivity, accomplishment, control and action. Poetry has always been a reliable source of frustration and bafflement for me. Thanks to this lovely book, I appreciate how the inherent mystery of poetry is not a bug but an abiding, important feature of this vital art form. ~ Reviewed by Sam Baker

New and Collected Poems: 1952-1992 by Geoffrey Hill - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780618001880
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Published: Mariner Books - January 12th, 2000

Hill is probably the best British poet after Philip Larkin. This volume collects everything you’ll need (he started taking Prozac in later life and his output quadrupled to the detriment of his ability). His work is thorny, violent, full of gnarled syntax and rhetorical power but lyrical and rewarding. “In Memory of Jane Fraser” and “Merlin” are two perfect poems that will be remembered. “Funeral Music,” a sequence of poems about historic British beheadings he described as “a florid, grim music broken by cries and shrieks.” Mercian Hymns, probably his most famous, is a curious collection of prose poems inspired by ancient British history which collapses time, the present bleeding into the past. Sometimes even funny. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood

Collected Poems 1943-2004 by Richard Wilbur - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780156030793
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Published: Mariner Books - April 3rd, 2006

Wilbur was a New England poet just as good as Robert Frost, if not better. His skilled work and craftsmanship is unsurpassed. Poems of deep feeling, intellectual rigor, and a glorious sensitivity to “the things of this world.” Unlike most writers I like, his work is optimistic and joyful. He finds the miraculous in the mundane—a hint of angel feathers in the throwing out of mop water, in waiting for a drawbridge to drop the perfect simile for the expectation of a smile from his wife. An American master. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood


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