Browsing: Poetry

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Brief reviews of Abuela in Shadow, Abel in Light; Places of Tenderness and Heat; House Fire; Queer Nature; Verdant; Dot & Ralfie; and Immoral, Indecent & Scurrilous.

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Fernando Pessoa began inventing alternate selves: fictional beings who peopled his imaginary universe and manifested their identities by producing letters, stories, and poems.

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            In Brocken Spectre, the present moment is always haunted, not only by the past, but by the suggestion of something divine that can never be adequately named or proved. The poems grapple with questions of faith from the perspective of an uncertain believer. “Once, I believed in God,” he admits in “Golden Gate Park.” But for all his admitted uncertainty, that space where belief once stood inside him still feels largely occupied. All of the poems remain alert to evidence that there’s more to life than that which we can rationally perceive.

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Reviews of THE ISOLATION ARTIST: Scandal, Deception and the Last Days of Robert Indiana; HE AUDACITY OF A KISS Love, Art, and Liberation; and EDGEMERE.

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IN THIS SWEET debut collection of love poems, What Are the Men Writing in the Sugar?, Matty Bennett puts a first serious gay relationship on a pedestal to admire it from every angle.

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THE CALM, beautifully aged face of the poet Adrienne Rich gazes at the reader from the new book by her friend, Ed Pavlic, who explains that his relationship with Rich began when she (as a contest judge) chose his first book of poems for a prize, and they began exchanging letters in 2001.

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AT AGE 21, John Wieners (1934–2002) was high on poetry. The Black Mountain College student wrote to a friend in the spring of 1955, “I just know now that as long as I live I will be a poet, that my life, way of and function of, will be the writing of poetry, as long as it lasts.” …

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            Myles has been called “the rock star of modern poetry.” For their many fans, this book will readily confirm that badge. Others may find For Now bewildering, a labyrinthine ramble with no real payoff. Myles is aware of the risks they’re taking. Literature, they say, “is not a moral project except in this profound aspect of wasting time.” Those who choose to “waste time” with this book should be ready for some surprising, even profound, literary adventures.

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            Few of Mistral’s poems have been translated, and she is not as well-known as her fellow Chilean and Nobel Prize winner, Pablo Neruda. But her letters to Doris are now available in English, edited and translated by Velma García-Gorena in 2018, so perhaps her reputation is growing in the English-speaking world.

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            Flowers’ poems are slippery things. They slide so smoothly between memory and dream, fantasy and reality, the present and childhood, that I sometimes didn’t notice the transitions. Nor do I think he wants us to know exactly where we are. All experiences are mixed in the solvent of language or superimposed on each other.

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