by David Anthony
“Regulars of The Gazebo will be familiar with the work of David Anthony,
and his distinctive way with traditional forms like the sonnet and triolet.
There are many moving poems here, but also a section called Chestnut
Puree of some wickedly funny ones. The presentation is excellent,
with some lovely colour plates. Altogether, a welcome addition to my
poetry bookshelf.”And: "I admire David Anthony’s poems for their
musicality and simplicity. They share an almost Franciscan view of the
world and rely on no neo-modernistic chicaneries. I hear in them the
voice of a man whose humility bespeaks his eloquence." £9.99.
by Jared Carter
"The body of work gathered in Darkened Rooms has certainly 'worked
against time and space,' and it is clear enough to me that Carter has
come out on top again and again, having 'trusted in the outcome/of that
endeavor." James Crew in Basalt, April 2014. "His work
will certainly endure, and this volume should help to cement his rightful
place in American poetry as a maker of organic, authentic, and above
all, sincere poems." Ted Kooser. University of Nebraska Press.
"Espaillat's exquisitely crafted, polished formal verse never
raises its voice, but speaks in the quiet, conversational tone of a
wise but self-deprecating best friend. To read Where Horizons Go
is to enter into a world where the everyday is infused with quiet magic;
to reread it is like meeting a beloved old friend on the street. At
the end of Rachmaninoff on the Mass Pike, Espaillat says, 'All
the heart wants is to be called again.' Her poetry calls to readers'
hearts, with modest but masterful authority." Truman State University
Press. 1998. $15.
A collection of 99 short narratives and lyrics, both humorous and
serious. Each individual in a galley-full of people, old and young,
engages you first on surface encounters, and begins to resonate with
you at levels more than skin-deep. A coda closes the book with twelve
“dances” — poems on the work of the imagination and its attendant pleasures
in the reading and writing of formal poetry. “An all too rare occasion
— the release of a volume of formal verse by a new voice....” — Steffen
Horstmann, writing in Contemporary Rhyme. $8.95 download: $17.95 print
Tom Kerrigan has been published in many small presses, and has read
his poetry on NPR. A collection of Kerrigan’s poetry, Another Bloomsday
at Molly Malone’s Pub and Other Poems, was published by The Inevitable
Press in 1999. Kerrigan’s work was included in the Garrison Keillor
anthology Good Poetry (Viking-Penguin, 2002). Kerrigan is also a
theater critic, a member of the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle, and
the author of several plays, including “Branches Among the Stars” (Louisville,
1990). Scienter Press. $8.50.
"What I look for—hope for—in poems, and what I find in Robert
Mezey's new work is the effort to bring into words that ultimate tenderness
toward existence which is the dream of great poems." Galway Kinnell
"In whatever formal more he has worked, from free verse to the
most limited schematic patterns, Mezey has always revealed a mastery
of the relation between deep and surface rhythms of language and thought,
and an unyielding poetic integrity that is itself like a beacon against
a darkening literary horizon." John Hollander. $22.
"Beyond The Masks: New And Selected Poems is and eclectic
new collection of Harvey Stanbrough's most encouraging and inspirational
poetry. From the depths of one of today's most intriguing minds thoughts
of philosophy and human mentality and etiquette is birthed Beyond The
Masks as a highly recommended book of reality based poetry and prose."
"This is an excellent edition of the complete works of Louise
Labe, who is one of the most important women writers of the French Renaissance
and whose poetry is especially wonderful, providing a much-needed female
perspective on the love lyric.. . In addition, Annie Finch's translations
of Labe's poetry are superb, capturing the spirit of the originals (of
course, the french is on the facing page). All in all, this is an essential
purchase for anyone interested in Labe or French Renaissance literature,
being the only complete bilingual edition of Labe's works available
and a model for all scholarly editions of its kind." University
Of Chicago Press. 2006. $25.
"No Word Of Farewell is a generous compendium of Gwynn's
work, dating back to 1970 and going up through 2000. The selections
show that Gwynn is capable of most everything - satire, ballads, love
poems, etc. He is a man of uncommon sense who nevertheless does not
allow his level-headedness to obscure his heart. That his work is not
better known is a commentary only on the present state of poetry and
reading, not on R.S. Gwynn" Story Line Press . 2001. $17.
by A.E. Stallings
"There is more to this collection than just classical mythology.
Just see The Man Who Wouldn't Plant Willow Trees to see Stallings
at her very best. I will say, section II, titled A Bestiary,
is rather weak. With the exception of the final poem, A Lament for
the Dead Pets of Our Childhood, I found most of the poems weak.
But despite that, Stallings technical skill, her beautiful use of language,
and her all around skill makes this one of the best collections I've
read. " Univ of Evansville Press. 1999. $15.
Gathered here in their entirety are the seven previous volumes of
Francis poetry together with a group of recent poems, many not previously
published but "saved" to end this volume on a note of newness. Univ
of Massachusetts Press. 1976. Late Fire Late Snow: New and Uncollected
Poems. 1992. is also available from Amazon at $14.95.
"Kate Light's collection is a wonderful collection of poems,
especially when you consider that it is her first. The poems, mostly
formal, use language in a sensual way. you can feel her training as
a musician the way the words float over you, melodious is the word that
comes to mind. her poems tend to deal with love, but she manages to
pull back before she reaches sentimentality. Many of the poems deal
with music as well." Story Line Press. 1997. $5.14.
Marilyn Taylor has been named Poet Laureate of the city of Milwaukee
for 2004 and 2005. Her work has been published in a number of anthologies
and journals, notably Poetry, The Formalist, The American Scholar,
Iris, and Poetry Magazine's 90th anniversary anthology. She won
the 2003 Dogwood Prize (Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT), and took
first place in recent contests sponsored by Passager, The Ledge,
and GSU Review magazines, and by Anamnesis Press. Wordtech
Communications. 2004. $16.
"Catherine Tufariello's new collection is a startling first appearance.
To borrow (as I do in my title) from the famous letter Emerson wrote
Whitman after a first reading of the 1855 Leaves of Grass, here a great
career begins, which must have had a long foreground judging by the
quality of this initial performance. Indeed, I agree with Richard Wilbur
that this is 'one of the finest first collections I can remember seeing.'"
Texas Tech University Press . 2006. $14.95.
"The Diviners is McDowell's book length poem about a family as
it falls apart through five decades. It's a poignant story told in iambic
pentameter, and is a prime example of the comeback the narrative poem
has been making (as is Dave Mason's 'The Country I Remember'). The first
chapter, 'The Fifties', is truly a great piece of work, and appeared
in a slightly different form in the Best American Poetry 1989."
Story Line Press . 1995. $10.00.
"The poems in this, W. S. Di Piero's fifth collection of poetry,
are animated by an ancient vision of the human state as existing somewhere
between the divine and the bestial; tense with the compulsion toward
formal order and the wild yearning after chaos, these are tough poems,
gritty and relentless; they indulge neither the reader nor the poet.
Their austere lyricism expresses Di Piero's desire for transcendent
meaning, and their unflinching attention to natural and cultural history
reflects an equally strong instinct for the earthbound." University
Of Chicago Press . 1992. $11.00.
"John Haines ranks with Thoreau, Emily Dickinson and Robinson
Jeffers as one of the great solitaries of American literature. Whether
he writes about hunting for moose near his Alaskan homestead or the
paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, Haines remains true to his basic theme:
that each of us is alone in the world, with only the examples presented
by nature and art to guide us. . . But he is known and cherished by
those readers who still believe that poetry can exhibit something akin
to moral and intellectual force." Graywold Press . 1993. $25.00.
"In Elizabeth Spires's sixth collection of poetry, the pilgrim
soul, in its various guises, meditates on its own slow becoming, finding
humble companions in creatures as unlikely as a lowly snail, a prehistoric
coelacanth, or a tiny Japanese netsuke of a badger disguised as a monk.
For Spires, life is both a pilgrimage and a deepening—birth, death,
and transformation all part of a seamless continuum. Possessed of a
calm, crystalline sense of eternity, her poems invite fellow travelers
to sit for a little while and be cleansed of the dust of existence."
W. W. Norton . 2008. $16.29.
"A selection from his last five books, along with a collection
of new poems, Fathering the Map takes us from the personal reflections
distilled in the lyrics of Waking to My Name (1980) to the worldly reckonings
of Inheritance (1992) and back again. In the dramatic monologues of
Faces in a Single Tree (1984), in the narrative of a wayward life from
womb to double ending in Clayfield Rejoices, Clayfield Laments (1987),
in a cosmic tour conducted by the physicist Heinz Pagels with Before
It Vanishes (1990), Pack has fashioned poems of intimate experience,
scientific meditations, philosophical wonder. . ." University Of
Chicago Press . 1993. $25.00.
"Ruark's poems are polished by the combined force of his feeling
and craft until they are solid as stone. . . handles language with the
skill of a patient craftsman, achieving a vision of unparalleled clarity
and grace." Louisiana State University Press . 1999. $19.95.
"Skloot's reputation for quiet warmth and mellifluous rhymes—on
display in poems about his elderly parents, his growing (now grown)
daughter and the green slopes and rivers of his rural Oregon—are peculiarly
hard-won clarities: during the late 1980s, in the same years that his
verse first gained some fame, a rare virus attacked his brain. Ever
since, Skloot has suffered from—and described, in poems and a memoir,
The Shadow of Memory—cognitive and mnemonic impairments that interfere
with his daily life. Skloot's demotic language and his focus on pathos
will remind some readers of William Stafford, others of former laureate
Ted Kooser, as when, over bowls of soup, steam... rose like the past
made whole." Tupelo Press . 2008. $14.00.
"A selection of recent work as well as the best from thirteen
volumes of poetry published across four decades, Change of Address highlights
the magnitude and scope of David Slavitt’s poetic achievement. Meditating
on both the quotidian and the sublime and ranging from brilliant satire
to tender elegy, this retrospective collection brings into sharp relief
Slavitt’s intelligence, strength of voice, and ease in varied poetic
forms. From the beginning of his career, Slavitt has displayed a rare
technical virtuosity, and his verse has long confronted—with urbanity
and poise—questions of love, grief, loss, and death." Louisiana
State University Press . 2005. $26.95.
"Morri Creech creates disconcerting but radiant images as he
tackles such topics as the feelings of Job and his wife post tribulation
Book of, Mary Magdalene's encounter with the risen Jesus in the garden,
Orpheus in the underworld, starvation as a martyr's instrument, and
a jarring narrative duel between desire as virtue and sex crime. Every
poem strikes a distinct tone, but all together reinforce each other
as words, phrases, and images iterate in different contexts." Waywiser
Press . 2006. $12.76.
"Including never-before-published poems, this landmark collection
of more than 300 poems follows the poet’s development of subject and
style chronologically. From early work that shows influences of Dylan
Thomas to later work that is distinctly American, Norris' poems feature
vivid descriptions of an extraordinary world in settings that include
his native Wales, southern England, and the American West." Seren
. 2008. $31.50.
"Celebrated since the 1980s for her deftly articulate, often
wittily rhymed lyric poems, Salter demonstrates those strengths and
others in this sixth volume. From the start, Salter's verse can sound
urbane and serious, ceremonious and supple: a nine-part elegy for a
friend who died young contains a villanelle with the refrain I know
you're gone for good. Other poems react to the death of Salter's mother,
to her own experience of parenthood, and to life with her husband, poet
and critic Brad Leithauser. Salter may be the most gifted mid-career
disciple of James Merrill's work, and her detractors may say she still
works in his shadow. Yet her loosely syllabic stanzas owe as much to
Marianne Moore, and her best poems stand apart for their careful sensitivity.
. ." Knopf . 2008. $20.48.
"If you read his poems deeply and see what he sees, you know
you're in the proximity of something great and dear. There are poems
you'll have to memorize, ones you'll have to call up a friend and read,
and others you'll just read over and over again, for comfort. The word
"indispensable" is, this time, the exact word for this book. Buy it.
It's too beautiful to miss." Ivan R. Dee . 2005. $18.95.
"Steele, who was in the vanguard of the 1980s swing back to regular
meter and rhyme in American poetry, is a formalist's formalist, so technically
adroit that he could write about anything and produce a poem repeatedly
rewarding for music and shapeliness alone, and subject matter be damned.
He isn't so cavalier about meaning, however, as that characterization
of his exquisite craftsmanship may suggest. Indeed, he writes about
most important matters: the kindness he did 30 years ago for a little
boy in Paris, the faithfulness of a common bird that doesn't migrate,
setting the star of faith atop the roof for another winter solstice,
watching familiar surroundings emerge out of the historic and biblical
possibilities a foggy daybreak suggests." Swallow Press . 2006.
"One turns to Jacobsen's poems not for flashy, egotistical juggling,
but as to an old friend, for her dependable, philosophical voice, rich
in technique and free from cliche. . . Her gaze is often directed outward,
sighting the estranged or deformed: clowns with highly individualized
sorrows, deaf-mutes watching baseball. Whatever handicaps these subjects
bear don't generate pity; if anyone seems deficient it will be the reader.
Because her poems don't fall into easily recognizable categories- political,
confessional, nature, or even formalist poetry (though she writes well
in her share of forms)-Jacobsen is seldom anthologized.." Johns
Hopkins University Press . 2000. $25.00.
"Schnackenberg does not write the intimate little odes so dear
to the hearts of many of today's current writing instructors. Grand
and imposing, her poems storm through civilization, paying homage to
art's greatest figures in language that is formal, articulate, and cool
and glittering as a knife. Even when she touches on personal issues
her neighbors, her father's death she works large. This year, she coupled
a fine selected works with a new book-length poem that plunges back
into Greek myth, ultimately investigating the tension between art and
life. Decidedly different reading." Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
"There's a delicious tang to Peacock's vital poemsa taste
of earth, salty and laced with iron, a headiness like that carried by
the breeze just before a spring rain. This electric juiciness is just
as pungent in poems from 27 years ago as it is in the suite of new poems.
The older poems in this volume have appeared in four previous collections
of her work, including Raw Heaven (1984) and Original Love (1995). Wielding
bright metaphors and adeptly combining story and lyricism, Peacock makes
the annealing of the self in the furnace of family and the fever of
erotic love her signature theme. In her newest work, Peacock interprets
her vision of The Land of Shi, a fugitive Celtic realm that manifests
itself whenever the air suddenly intensifies, and you are in another
world." W.W. Norton & Co. $14.95.
"The soul of Questions for Ecclesiastes, winner of the 1998 Lenore
Marshall Poetry Prize, lies in a sequence of poems whose title, Unholy
Sonnets, immediately recalls the Holy Sonnets of John Donne.
Instead of adopting Donne's tone of vulnerable desperation, however,
Jarman questions the concept of divinity with a voice familiar to readers
of contemporary poetry: sincere, restrained, and polite, yet not unaware
of the winding rhetoric of irony. Jarman adds a willingness to engage
in abstract thought at the risk of losing emotional edge, an important
risk that few poets take." Story Line Press. 1997. $4.99.
"There are two topics that seem largely unexplored by American
poets of our time. One is the deep attachment parents (and perhaps most
especially working parents) form for their infants and how they perceive
their children (perhaps as Blake saw them) with all the wisdom of their
innocence. The second is the relationship of science, mathematics and
metaphysics to our everyday life. Here is a book that explores, and
to some degree attempts to define, the writer's investigations in those
two domains, one stemming from her experience as a mother, the other
from her profession as a philosopher of science. And it is this juxtaposition
of maternal emotion and detached, almost clinical, analysis that provides
Grosholz's wonderful new collection with such grace and such power."
David R Godine. 2002. $15.95.
"Former poet laureate Dove, a master at dramatic monologues,
is in top form here, reclaiming Bridgetower’s story in a mischievous,
sensuous, and deeply empathic lyrical narrative. Born in 1780 to a Polish
German mother and a Caribbean African father, George was a famous prodigy
and mulatto subjected to every insult. In scintillating, linked poems
that embody the violin’s profoundly emotional range, Dove brings the
tumultuous world of Napoleonic Europe to life with stunning precision.
The sheer pleasure of her crisp descriptions and the propelling suspense
of this true tale cannot be overstated. As she writes in the voices
of Bridgetower, Beethoven, Haydn, a court lady, and street fiddler Black
Billy Waters, Dove delves into the nature of genius and power, class
and race, and the consequences of exoticism and lust, creating a unique
celebration of art and spirit." W.W. Norton & Co. 2009. $16.47.
"Dana Gioia's name has come to be associated with the poets known
as New Formalists—a term that might sound odd here. But what it really
means is that Gioia concerns himself with every aspect of his craft:
its traditions, its movements towards and away from rhyme and meter,
and its ancient roots in the sound of the human voice. That his voicing
of these concerns has put him at the center of several literary controversies
may say more about the current state of poetry than about Gioia himself,
but that is another matter. Gioia is clearly a poet whose words are
heard, whose positions ignite debate, whose work constantly and unflinchingly
searches out new ways to counter what he calls our sentimental, upbeat
age." Graywolf Press. 2001. $14.00.
"This nonfiction memoir of a chronically ill poet who rediscovers
her Catholic faith and perceives its healing power reads like a cross
between Kathleen Norris and Carlos Castaneda. Swander, an Iowa poet
who developed a paralyzing neurological condition when her car was hit
by a drunk driver, weaves family history and an introduction to historic
Catholic mystics into a tale of her recovery from illness when she journeys
from snowbound Iowa to the desert of New Mexico as a visiting professor.
The timeless Christian allegory of pilgrimage to belief is freshly rendered.
This poet-pilgrim joins a literary tradition of others before her who
journeyed through the dark nights of doubt to the convinced light of
faith. This is a beautifully written book." Ice Cube Press. 2008. $19.95.
A slim yet compelling collection of poetry that celebrates several
generations of a Southern black family with rich and vivid portraits.
Great-Uncle Rufus was born a slave, conceived by rape, but raised by
his mother with enough love and faith to imbue courage and pride in
his own five children. Aunt Geneva dared to love a white man well into
her eighties. Waniek's father, an Air Force navigator, and her uncles,
the famed Tuskegee Airmen, inspired the poet to look to the sky and
ask . . . how shall I live and work to match your goodness? This
is a worthy addition to any poetry collection, but it's of particular
importance with the recent interest in the airmen and the contribution
of blacks in the U. S. military." Louisiana State University Press.