The 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.
Arthur Sze offers a stellar collection of lyrical poems that captivate the reader’s heart, even as the personae involved in the individual works also seem affected, sometimes dramatically, sometimes more subtly, but always moved. These poems are full of energy, sometimes boiling below the surface, or recoiling in a desert sunset, but always linking heart and mind with sensation and intellect ... One of Sze’s striking writing characteristics involves his ability and propensity to create simultaneous actions, apparently unrelated, within a singular poem’s context ... The poems engage the contemporary and the historical. Sze’s vision encompasses an amazing variety of animal, reptilian, and vegetal lives. It conveys a rich variety of ecosystems around the globe. It also reaches the heavenly bodies, the ends of the known universe, as well as an abundant variety of human cultures, but always reconnects to the human attempt to perceive ... The Glass Constellation offers a complete course in not only how to write poetry but, even more, how to read it, to encounter it.
Delight, Parnassians. Arthur Sze has returned ... The Glass Constellation, spanning five years of Sze’s compressed lyricism, provides a glimpse into the life of a poet whose work and, in fact, self often seem elusive ... Coming in at a whopping 560 pages, The Glass Constellation has, probably, every word in the English language—but, as usual, he's put them all in their right order. Recognition for Sze’s work has always felt a little overdue ... Nevertheless, it feels good to see such a book released, and it is as satisfying to read as it is to hold: a weighty thing, substantial. It is rare one finds a book of poetry that they could, upon completion, easily use to bludgeon an enemy ... All of the Szes’ wonder at the world: the big of it, the small of it, the unexpected poetry in even the mundane, could fill a river to rush and then spill its banks, but if their riparian joys have any drawback, it is this: this is a book that allows no room for growth, spanning so much work and so much time and so many Arthur Szes that it could be confused with an autobiographical obituary ... Even at 560 pages, it feels like there might be more to say, more Arthur Szes to meet, worth waiting for.