Review: Uncontested Grounds

Review: William Conelly’s Uncontested Grounds William Conelly’s wonderful new poetry collection, Uncontested Grounds (Able Muse Press, 2014), includes five war poems well worth our attention. Conelly is a veteran of the United States Air Force, although the war poems here come not from his personal experiences but from his imaginative understandings. “R & R” imagines … Read more

Geoffrey Hill has died, and we inherit his poetry

The truly great poet Geoffrey Hill has died. Death, there is thy sting. Unlike nearly every other poet of every era, Geoffrey Hill precedes his poems in death. I performed a memorial reading of some of Geoffrey Hill’s poems today in the Dialog coffee house in W. Hollywood, California. I was the only one there … Read more

Review: Tremendum, Augustum

Leonore Wilson’s Tremendum, Augustum (AldrichPress 2014) is a wonderful poetry collection, and a remarkable poetry collection. Like a Brahms symphonic movement, I know that there is power and substance here even if I am not fully able to grasp it. And who wants to bother with poetry that you can fully grasp at one reading? … Read more

Review: Camouflage for the Neighborhood

Unlike most books of poetry, which are collections of separate poems ignoring each other like subway commuters, Lorene Delany-Ullman’s Camouflage for the Neighborhood is better understood, in fact only understood, as a single coherent work, the whole being far greater than the sum of its parts. Collectively the 71 prose poems (or paragraphs) form a … Read more

The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry

For poets, one of the best prophylactics against staleness and provincialism is a nice, plump anthology of poems translated from another culture. We welcome The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry and The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry in part for easing our access to a remarkably wide range of poetry arguably more … Read more

Michael Casey’s Check Points poetry

Michael Casey has once again offered his readers a collection of amusing, deceptively simple poems about daily life as a military policeman during the Viet Nam War, in Check Points, published by Gary Metras’s Adastra Press, 2011. Unlike many contemporary books of poetry (books that gather unrelated poems, loaded with enough filler to remind me … Read more

Book Review: Why Translation Matters

In her recently published Why Translation Matters, one of our finest translators, Edith Grossman, expands her three Yale talks to provide a fascinating look at her theory and praxis, while scolding the publishing world. My full review of Why Translation Matters is available at Cerise Press. Cerise Press is one of my favorite on-line publishers … Read more

Theatre Review: Kings: The Siege of Troy

Kings: The Siege of Troy, an adaptation by Jim Milton of Christopher Logue’s wonderful poem entitled Kings, is ending its run this week (March 2011) at Manhattan’s Workshop Theatre. Handcart Ensemble, Verse Theater Manhattan, and WorkShop Theatre Company collaborated in this production, not that I know exactly what role each played. This was a fine, … Read more

Book Review: Alan Farrell, Expended Casings

In his foreword (whimsically rendered “Deployed Forward”), Alan Farrell ridicules pretension, incomprehensibility, poetry as therapy, literary critical jargon, posturing, the cult of free verse, swingebuckling, and shallow war poetry cliches. Nevertheless you sense that he is trying to be restrained and polite, and barely succeeding. Farrell’s reader might then expect carefully crafted and elegantly ironic … Read more

Book Review: William Logan, The Undiscovered Country

Poetry is the only art form in America that I can think of that no longer has a bracing tradition of real criticism. Novels, plays, films, operas . . . we expect critics to note honestly whatever flaws and failures they see in specific works. Critical reviews often hurt sales and egos, but without them … Read more