RaveOn the SeawallThe poems in Arthur Sze’s The Glass Constellation, which span 50 years of a singular luminous career, are a cosmos. What might it mean to exist as a human being in a particular moment in the intricate and interconnected webs of time and space is a quest and a question in poem after poem ... one way to engage with Sze’s substantial new and collected poems might be to read a poem a day as a kind of koan or text upon which to meditate — such is the richness of this precise, fiercely observant, metaphysical and elegant work ... The Glass Constellation is a beautiful and important testament to the significance of that endeavor, an important illumination in poetry’s cosmic vault.
RaveOn the Seawall... beautiful, poetic ideograms accompany each story ... These haunted and haunting stories do not tie up their tangles neatly. There is rarely \'resolution\' and often the stories conclude in precarity, uncertainty, and with more questions and hurt than those with which they began. However, unfolding like the triangular planes of a hand-held paper \'fortune teller\' game (also called \'chatterboxes\'), the series of stories opens and conceals and closes and reveals in a way that allows the circumstances of one protagonist to \'answer\' or mirror or rhyme with or deepen our understanding of the others ... Calligraphy, of course, means \'beautiful writing,\' and this collection is full of it. Ye’s sentences are both lyrical and muscular: spare and acutely alive ... Each of the stories in Hao creates, even in the most unfathomable situations, \'a small clearing\'—for love, for self, for connection.
RaveVQRWith characteristic restraint, tensility, and subtlety, Sze takes a bead on America—its endangered lands; its manifold, multicultural populations; its distances and proximities, real and imagined. He does so with a quiet but perspicacious \'seeing\' that half reflects and half creates its constellar vision ... his poems enact the prodigious multiplicity and simultaneity of any one moment ... And as if taking this remarkable measure of America...weren’t enough, Sze uses lines from this poem as section markers throughout the book, a signal that this poem is a touchstone, offering a way for reading the book as a whole ... Sze’s gift for the simple yet lushly delicate image...is almost unparalleled in contemporary poetry, and in Sight Lines the rich mix of this physical detail and metaphysical musing embodies Sze’s notions of life in our moment.
RaveOn The Sea Wall...Beautiful, daring ...ranges the fields, train tracks, backseats, coal yards, and watering holes of liminal border towns attuned to the particular roil of the Native American boys and young men who wander in and through them. He attends with exquisite, lyric eroticism to the ways in which their world is shaped by landscape, violence, danger, prejudice, intoxication, Diné language and culture, sexual tension, and the hauntings of a host of familial and tribal ghosts. Soma, word, and world turn into one another everywhere ... Skeets not so much populates each page with words but rather calls forth or invokes out of the field of each page what might not otherwise be seen or noticed ... A poem for a cousin, \'My Brother\' ... shows this rich panoply of pantheistic forces by which manhood, personhood, can be shaped or shut down ... In yet another poem, “Naked,” Skeets writes, \'the closest men become [to being naked] is when they are covered in blood / or nothing at all.\' And it is perhaps this wish to be naked, transparent, known, shown, revealed as true that is the simmering, about-to-blow combustion engine of these poems of becoming. Joining the most powerful male poets of Eros of our moment — Carl Phillips, Cyrus Cassells, Forrest Gander, Michael McGriff, Brian Teare — Skeets brings his considerable gifts not only to the particular terrible beauty of his native Navaho turf, but to a world in which we must all \'unlearn how to hold a fist.\'