Reviews

A poetics of appropriation

A review of William Fuller's 'Hallucination'

Like the obscured, faceless old portrait on the cover of William Fuller’s new volume of poems, Hallucination, it’s difficult to pick out an overarching voice throughout this collection from Flood Editions. At an organizational level, there is a noticeable divide between the prose works and those set in verse, so much so that the book almost feels as if it were written by two different poets.

Stephen Ratcliffe, a view from the writing table

A review of Stephen Ratcliffe's 'Conversation'

Stephen Ratcliffe’s book-length poem Conversation (2011) is a sharp and prescient writing that continues the one-hundred-year tradition established by the early Imagists. That there be “Direct treatment of the ‘thing’ whether subjective or objective. Regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase …”

In Ratcliffe’s writing, movements are on the page — with their own integrity and ruminative space, not simply for the purpose of character description. And this is an important distinction; the motion within Conversation is alive.

A study in how we define the world outside

A review of Maxine Chernoff's 'Without'

The cover photograph of Maxine Chernoff’s latest book of poems, Without, shows a scruffy western American landscape in the hallucinatory amber light of late afternoon. The black shadow of a porch cuts a geometric shape across the landscape, framing leafless trees and twisted stumps; in the distance lies a low hill covered in chaparral-like vegetation. The photograph, by Carolyn Guinzio, suggests a dry land lacking the moisture needed to sustain growth: it is a landscape without.

Ryan Eckes's American poetry

A review of Ryan Eckes's 'Old News'

In her essay “Against Transparency: From the Radiant Cluster to the Word as Such,” Marjorie Perloff argues that poetic imagery can’t avoid reproducing the “videation of our culture.”[1] Noting Charles Bernstein’s concept of “‘imagabsorption’ — the ‘im-position of the image on the mind’ from without” (79). She attributes this condition to the conjoined histories of marketing, public relations, and propaganda in twentieth-century America.

Between bibetgekess and 'but …'

A review of Lyn Hejinian's 'The Book of a Thousand Eyes'

Writing about Lyn Hejinian’s The Book of a Thousand Eyes is like talking about someone else’s dreams. The poems are peculiar and uncanny, full of surprising leaps and linkages that one might expect from a book written in the dark.[1] Such is the stuff of dreams.