Browsing: Poetry

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Brief reviews of TEN BRIDGES I’VE BURNT: A Memoir in Verse; DEAD IN LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA; MATERIAL WEALTH: Mining the Personal Archive of Allen Ginsberg; BOUND: Poems; and IN THE SPIDER’S ROOM: A Novel.

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Homeland of My Body is a substantial compilation of poems from four earlier collections, along with many new poems. Blanco includes references to his private life in many of his works, but he does not write primarily about gay life. Instead, it is his Cuban ancestry and family members that shine through like a Havana sunrise. Ancestry, family history, and Cuban customs are so much at the heart of his œuvre that the theme of gay love is moved to the periphery.

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Yone Noguchi, this handsome Japanese poet from California, might possibly be the New Kid, someone who was young, racially
exotic, and very talented.

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For in this quiet novel (Mother’s Boy) — and Gale’s fiction grows quieter and quieter, so even a bomb blast is muffled—Gale refuses to judge his characters. I sense that this is from a genuine generosity of spirit, a desire to allow the characters time to develop on their own. Quietly we learn that to become a mother’s boy requires the cooperation of both the mother and the boy, and it may lead, as in the case of Charles Causley, to some of the finest poems of his generation.

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POET JOHN ASHBERY (1927-2017) is described by Jess Cotton in Critical Lives as “at once notorious and celebrated” owing to the perceived difficulty of his work. Cotton’s short but thorough explication of Ashbery’s life and work does a fine job of placing him both as a 20th-century poet and as a leading figure among gay writers.

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By David Masello: Oliver was never afraid to use certain words in her poems. Cover your ears, for you may be offended. Her language includes nouns and adjectives like beautiful, love, beloved, prayer, loneliness, God, holy, and heaven.

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Short reviews of To the Boy who was Night: Poems Selected and New by Rigoberto González, So Long: Poems by Jen Levitt, and Romantic Comedy: Poems by James Allen Hall.

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Along the way, the novel recounts the poet’s early life as the daughter of the founder of the Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, a credential that would become a liability after the Bolshevik Revolution, her mother’s death, and the poet’s marriage at nineteen to Sergei Efron, who would later enlist in the White Army during the Russian Civil War.

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Almost Obscene contains poems referring to Mary Renault, Stendhal, and Constantine Cavafy, plus a string of poems on mythological and historical figures, including Theseus, Medea, Antinous, and Scheherazade.

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