Rita Dove’s new book of poems is among her best. The title makes it leap from the bookcase ... Dove’s books derive their force from how she so deftly stirs the everyday — insomnia, TV movies, Stilton cheese, rattling containers of pills — into her world of ideas and intellection, in poems that are by turns delicate, witty and audacious. Her sleepless eye for cant, necessary in all good poetry, is a bonus ... These are fighting poems ... You sense the books of many poets of Dove’s generation slipping to the back of the bookcase. Not hers.
... exquisite ... Her poems magnify the marginalized individual, simultaneously illuminating national and global failed attempts at democracy. As always, her words are raw, poignant, and accessible ... The poems she uses to divulge her daily life, managing her condition, are tender, playful, and optimistically realistic ... Once again, Dove has written a culturally astute volume packed with musicality and charm. Her eloquent honesty creates a true playlist for the apocalypse, should that relentless threat ever finally tighten its grip. Still, she respectfully declines to be dismal.
... a potent and many-chambered volume showcasing the highly awarded former U.S. Poet Laureate’s signature gift for historical illumination, especially in sharp and poignant portraits of marginalized figures ... Here, too, are poems of pirouetting wit and jujitsu power about family, food, nature, memory, complacency, protest, and her own valiant battle for health. Dove is a poet of profound perspective, genius, and grace.