These poems of grief and doubt are the strongest in the collection. There’s much to be admired in the poems that follow them—they are the affirmation of life and love that the doubt that begins the book asks for—but they don’t consistently have the power of the poems that begin the book. The kernel of grief that sets the speaker on his course, and which seems to fascinate him across time, is also what fascinates us. The crystalized, perfectly-clear articulations of grief that begin the collection ring through it, though, making it impossible to read even the simplest lyric in The Last Love Poem I Will Ever Write as light.
... in verse of astonishing verbal clarity—no polysyllabic scientific and philosophical trade vocabulary for Orr—and virtually invisible but adamantine technique, he achieves most of his aspirations. This is the work of one of our best poets.
At first plainspoken and clever, Orr pushes conceits until they are revelatory in this deceptively simple book ... The gruffness rife in these poems gives way to love, which entered when Orr was 'broken/ All the way to the center.' In this collection, he offers silence and language as a way to heal.