RaveOn the SeawallThis is a writer in the midst of change—about his thinking about poetry, his writing process, and the world around him. As readers, we’re lucky to witness this live petri dish of mental acrobatics ... it’s nothing short of breathtaking ... For the poet who has written lyric poems with the precision of a needle and thread, this new book feels broader, looser in syntax. We’re still lucky enough, though, to experience the laser-focused eye that Barot is known for ... The prestige of detail is still here but, in The Galleons the reader can also sense that Barot has traveled even farther in his mind. His poems reveal the eye of a painter combined with the mind of a roving archaeologist ... There’s a caginess in the speaker when naming people in this collection, not to subordinate human figures to the particular, but perhaps to articulate that humans span—they are a \'part of something larger,\' shards of history ... In every single poem in The Galleons, the reader gets to witness the miraculous movements of the speaker’s mind, as if walking inside a giant grandfather’s clock, following the intricacies of the moving of time, all those gears, cranks, pendulums ... What fortunate readers we are to have a window into Barot’s eye, mind, and soul.
Carmen Gimenéz Smith
RaveOn the SeawallBe Recorder is a mirror, or rather funhouse mirror of America—confusing, disorienting, multi-faceted, excessive, distorted. These poems are muscular tonally, but there’s also self-deconstruction everywhere, leading to a book that has multiplicities, is multiplicities, is the self, is America ... In these poems, the reader senses that time is always running out for the speaker, but it is also running out for our country, for our earth, and for humanity ... there’s an implicit understanding that the self is complex, can be both creator and destroyer, victim and perpetrator ... each line, each word, each phrase, effortlessly shifts into the next, but with each new thought, the puzzle gets deeper, more complicated, and the language more sinuous and alert. The language in these poems is alive ... In a book with so much desolation, however, there’s ultimately hope in language, in Giménez Smith’s language that not only bravely names the dilemmas of our time, but also boomerangs language into the mind and heart of the reader, as if to say, we must look into our collective memories and past in order to make a different kind of future, all the while acknowledging our own culpability within our vastly diminished society.
RaveLos Angeles TimesDiane Seuss’s fourth book of poems, Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl, is anything but still. This collection showcases a poet who is writing some of the most animated and complex poetry today ... The distance traveled between the first poem and the last is an unfathomable glittering distance, yet by the end of the book, the speaker (and the reader) realizes that running towards the past and leaving the past are ultimately the same thing ... One of the most interesting aspects of Seuss’s poetry is how it showcases the speaker’s sparkling riffing mind ... Seuss’s poems aspire to complicate, drawing connections between seemingly unrelated things, flowing in and out and back and away from their initial triggers.