MixedThe New York Times Book Review\"The poems in On Drinking are distinguishable from the prose mostly by virtue of line breaks that are inserted in why-not fashion ... There’s basically no difference between these lines and the prose narrative that precedes them, except that the prose involves an extended brawl while the poem includes Bukowski pulling a knife on some French security guards ... Bukowksi talks about plowing around hammered in a car, yet every episode carefully avoids any sense of the possible horrific consequences for other people and returns us instead to the comfortable presence of that charming rogue, Charles Bukowski. He’s so funny, so honest. You want to hang out with him, maybe have a few cold ones ... What is strangest about On Drinking, though, is its lack of strangeness.\
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"... an ode to the past and present of, yes, Marfa — the West Texas town with a population of roughly 2,000 ... playfully exacting ...\
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"Stallings is widely admired for her formal agility and classical expertise ... In Like, her fourth book of poems, we get the rhyming wit one expects from Stallings, although in the best poems here that wit is attractively darkened by experience in a place that is, to take Stallings slightly out of context, \'Deep in the woods where things escape their names.\'”
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"... a fast-paced but unflappable tour of hotels, airports, college drop-offs, gynecologists’ offices and the cafes of Lower Manhattan ... But the moments of stillness in Human Hours are equally compelling.\
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"The spare, sly lines in A Memory of the Future are a reminder that the game of a poem is sometimes better advanced by underplaying.\
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewUglow’s approach is more or less to try to cover the waterfront. There is a lot of it to cover ... What redeems the constant travelogue is Uglow’s sympathetic and perceptive view of her subject, as both person and artist. She is well aware of the masks Lear was forced to don as a sexually fluid man in the 19th century...and finds beneath his wit and friendly humor \'the admission that he was in essence a man who would live his life alone, and, perhaps, lonely.\' This seems right: The desire for understanding, however unlikely its achievement, is a strong theme in Lear’s writing; has there ever, for instance, been a more tenuous pairing than the Owl and the Pussy-cat? ... If a cat and an owl can be joined, the poem quietly suggests, then surely there is hope for anyone. Lear’s gift is to find his own thirst for companionship echoed in the sense-making elements of language.
Tracy K Smith
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"Smith’s fourth book is the strongest and most wide-ranging she’s written. Many readers will be drawn to the series of poems here composed from the letters and statements of African-American soldiers in the Civil War and their dependents. This work is admirable, but it would be a mistake to overlook Smith’s growing command of the domestic poem, which presents unique and subtle challenges that are easy to underestimate.\
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewIt may sound as if the problems with The Hatred of Poetry outweigh its virtues. That’s not the case, actually. Yet in order to understand what’s worthwhile about Lerner’s book, it’s necessary to appreciate the precarious position from which it was written. Contemporary poetry is, to put it mildly, unpopular, and that unpopularity may be increasing.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review“All the Poems is admirably professional and thorough, from its formal, scholarly introduction to its four appendixes to its two indexes, and it is almost disconcerting to see this poet of radical whimsy so coolly annotated. Yet it is also completely appropriate. As May notes in the first sentence of his preface, Smith is a “great poet.” She is a great poet because almost half a century after her death, her poems are more startling and bizarre than those of many poets who deliberately set out, as one suspects Smith never did, to be startling and bizarre.