PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksDavid Baker is a master of places defined by science and art. His poems create human emotions through scientific, yet creative, placements in the natural world. Humans are placed in multisensory and scientific environments to create sentimental metaphors ... Baker’s poetry is nothing short of calculated and experimental ... reads like a poetic encyclopedia, a fusion of art, science, mathematics. David Baker grabs his audience with poems that are accurate yet creative, precise yet profound. He is a researcher’s poet whose poems demand dissection.
RaveNew York Journal of Books\"... [Laux] moves us ... [Laux] captures human sentiment and weaves emotions into multisensory landscapes with accurate details. Rich with detailed, layered poems, Only As the Day Is Long: New and Selected Poems is a collection of Laux’s finest ... Only As the Day Is Long: New and Selected Poems is a necessary addition to a home library. The poems demand multiple reads, and they will never escape one’s memory; they are permanent.\
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksEvery poem by Robert Bly is to be adored. Bly’s creativity, poetics, and precision are eloquent and deliberate. Reading his poems is like reading a poetry field guide. He observes and researches human interaction with nature, and then uses metaphors and personification to transform encounters into emotional enlightenment. Bly is a master of nature poetry, a master whose perfection requires eternal praise ... Masterfully crafted from the outset, each poem carries unique images and mechanics, proving Bly’s poetic range and skill. He easily flows from narrative to free verse poetry, without losing any multisensory gratification. He also punctuates his poetry, which proves his careful attention to details ... One cannot help but recall the poetry of Robert Frost, Jim Harrison, and Mary Oliver when reading Bly’s engaging, multisensory, and true poetry. Bly writes with a naturalist’s eye and sage view to derive permanent human emotions from natural beauty. For all readers, writers, and lovers of life, Robert Bly’s Collected Poems, is an honor to read.
RaveNew York Journal of BooksThe writing is so eloquent, imaginative, and spiritual that it seems like an impressionist painting, a painting in which the artistic technique deliberately creates a sensual encounter with nature to invoke human sentiment ... a clear demonstration of Bitsui’s poetic range, his ability to break forms and write unique poems for each subject ... a short, yet very engaging, collection. It demands multiple reads, which is evidence of strong poetry. The natural and gritty images paint dynamic landscapes that balance myth and reality. Strongly influenced by Bitsui’s Native American heritage, the collection fuses cultural storytelling with trained poetics to create a collection of spiritually moving poetry.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksBarnett defies traditional poetics, dabbling with the experimental, especially with the Accursed Questions series throughout the book—there are four. Each prosaic poem presents a series of statements to frame the poet’s current mindset (hour of being human) ... The Accursed Questions exemplify the collection—talking to oneself, with polarizing senses of disbelief and narcissism ... Barnett’s poetry draws its strength from images. Her images are clear and stark. Proper nouns and accurate references are used to prove meaning. Barnett also takes risks by challenging reader knowledge of literature and philosophy. Human Hours leaves us thinking, thinking within all hours of life.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksStanger on Earth by Richard Jones is a collection of personal poems inspired by landscapes, ranging from Virginia to Italy, and beyond ... Almost all poetry is derived from memories, and Jones utilizes his memories of family, history, and culture to craft poems full of clear images and rich detail ... one of the most poignant poems, The Coffin Shop, \'I asked my grown boys if they remembered / the coffin shop. I’d taken them there // when they were little. The storefront / was only blocks from our old house // and driving by one day I’d stopped\' ... The poem continues to describe a stroll around the shop to \'consider the timeless art.\' The poem is about time and permanence. It captures a sentimental memory when the poet told his sons how much he loved them, and when that memory was buried in a coffin to retain its value and beauty: \'deep into those boxes of shiny satin and velvet.\' ... The Black Raincoat: \'I’d like to say a good word of praise / for my long black raincoat\'. The poet describes how the coat always protected him, as if an old friend, throughout his travels. Then one day he wears his raincoat to a funeral where it is hung from a hook with \'a few raindrops stubbornly clinging to the hem, / a few raindrops rolling down the empty sleeves / and falling.\' The raincoat becomes a metaphor for hope in a room of sorrow ... Jones is an expert at finding eccentricities, finding the unusual in unusual, and then spotlighting them. He writes through exposition with clear images and detail.
RaveThe New York Journal of BooksThe selections in Kindest Regards, as well as with all of Kooser’s collections, are accessible to readers of all ages. They are the kind of poems that should be translated and taught because of their masterful use of clear and easily understood language. Language comes naturally to Kooser. His poems are crafted with ease, and the stanza breaks are perfect. The poems stay on course and carry complete metaphors. There is no doubt. Kooser also punctuates his poetry, using uniform stanzas, without spreading words across the page. His craft is to be cherished in a world where contemporary poetry, especially visual poetry, is frequently misunderstood.
Tracy K Smith
RaveThe New York Journal of Books\"...all readers will enjoy the diverse array of poems that range from personal reflections on family to statements on American industry, history, and slavery. Some are formal; some are rhymed; all are enjoyable ... Chapter II is the most poignant. It is a series of letters written by Civil War troops and their families, all of which include images of brutality, slavery, and death...The reader is almost driven to tears when reading these as they are rife with feelings of loss, sadness, despair, and fear—there is no joy ... Readers will be moved by this carefully crafted collection. It is entirely new and innovative. Wade in the Water is a treasure, a chest of historical gems, which offers spectacles for everyone to adore.\