RaveNew York Journal of BooksYusef Komunyakaa crafts his poetry so precisely that every word evokes transformation. Poem after poem excites like treasure chests, with every word a precious gem ... Komunyakaa’s poems read like meditations. Images flow and weave into elegant narratives. Line breaks are refined reinforce cadence. Subjects such as war, terrorism, sex, and nature are transformed into profound sentiments, with each poem creating new feeling. He is also skilled at shaping poems to reflect content ... This is a very thorough collection from a Pulitzer Prize winner. Everyone will find poems to remember and adore.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksEdited by Alice Quinn, the collection is poetically diverse and offers sentimental mediations and metaphors for the way we feel right now, as if therapeutic ... This is not a depressing collection, but rather one of creative documentary. Poets provide intimate glimpses into personal struggle with the coronavirus, and how it can be overcome; sometimes that struggle cannot. Quinn provides a welcome collection of creative healing. We want to know what the literary community is honestly and openly thinking about the virus. We want to know how poets heal. This collection grants that knowledge.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksKingsolver writes uniform stanzas with similar line counts and breaks. All poems are punctuated. All poems are crisp ... There are no risks or experimental poems, thus all are easily understood ... The first \'How to Fly\' section is the most striking because the poems are new. They are fun life lessons. Instructional poems are unusual, especially ones that teach us how to shear sheep, as analyzed previously. This collection instructs with character and charm. Kingsolver’s second poetry collection is not groundbreaking or astonishing. It is comforting. It is accessible to families and includes diverse subjects. Kingsolver grants strong attention to personal memories and historical images. She also engages nature. Everyone will find poems to enjoy.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksJane Hirshfield’s latest collection...presents readers a multifaceted, diverse, and experimental collection of poems that core the poet’s soul. The poems are deliberately delicate. Hirshfield provides a \'ledger\' of precise images to admit her most intimate sentiments, many of which are personifications of the natural world. And she is not afraid ... Hirshfield takes risks. She is not afraid to write experimental poems that risk confusion ... Ledger records Hirshfield’s most intimate sentiment as she navigates her surroundings, some of which are so profound that words cannot describe them ... The collection is more geared toward adult poetry lovers, as many poems are very abstract. The poems are also diverse, ranging from simple to complex. Even so, everyone should crack the spine and challenge their poetics, to push the art of poetry beyond traditional mechanics into something entirely new and exciting.
PositiveNew York Journal of BooksCarolyn Forché concretes sentimental memories with clear natural and historical images within in her latest collection ... Forché is a master of capturing precise moments where poems create metaphors; all are gripped, clear, and exact ... In the Lateness of the World is a quick read at 77 pages. Readers of all ages will enjoy this collection and constantly return to favorite poems, as all demand multiple reads. Poems are not abstract or visual. Landscapes are clear. Histories are clear. All are familiar. Forché has created a compelling collection that teaches us how to harness sentiment within our natural and historical world.
PositiveThe New York Journal of Books... bold and exciting ... Harjo’s decision to insert historical descriptions is curious. They provide context and explain topics such as the Columbian Quincentenary, the history of saxophones, and the mounds in Tennessee. These images should be poems and speak for themselves ... As poems, descriptions would provide metaphors with layers of meaning. Harjo’s poetics would force readers to learn content, to harness it, thus making true history a permanent memory instead of a passive read ... But in the end she grips us with song...In tribal language, she sings of her ancestors dancing together, reuniting, and celebrating life; she fortifies the spirit of family: to learn from elders, cherish culture, love one another, celebrate today, and then welcome tomorrow ... Harjo evokes images, emotions, and places in a poetic biography of family perseverance. She proves sentiment. She transforms tribal and ancestral memories, history, and culture into feelings of grief, compassion, togetherness, and acceptance within the rugged American landscape. All of us will enjoy this historical, poetic, and lyrical collection.
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.
PositiveNew York Journal of Books\"We take pedestrian objects for granted; but for Skaja, mundane landscapes mean so much more ... Skaja knows exactly how to engage nature, readers, and life. Her diverse poetics prove her broad range of skills. She takes risks. Her poems range from narrative to free verse, several of which use free association to encapsulate metaphors. All poems in Brute flow with precision and ease.\
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.\