Monday, August 6, 2012

Poetry Round-Up

Books Reviewed: The Trees The Trees, by Heather Christle; Thin Kimono, by Michael Earl Craig; I [Heart] Your Fate, by Anthony McCann
I read so much poetry these days that I can't possibly blog about each book. So every once in a while, I do these round-ups to let you know what I've been reading lately. Here are three books I've read in the last couple weeks:

The Trees The Trees: After reading and loving Christle's The Difficult Farm a couple weeks ago, I gave another of her books a try.  And of course, I really liked it.  I'm not sure The Trees The Trees is quite as surprising or charming as The Difficult Farm, but the way it teases out an idiosyncratic voice through the pages of prose poems is really cool.  Again, I find Christle to be a warm and available poetic voice, one that I will probably be recommending to those who think contemporary poetry has gotten overly cold in its obsession with being clever.  Poems I particularly liked here: "Anywhere in Particular," "A Handle on It," "Line Up in an Orderly Fashion," "Landscaping," "I Know the Air Should Not Contain Me," and "Trying to Return the Sun."

Thin Kimono: Another book from the pile my friend Drew left for me this summer.  Craig is definitely unlike any other poet out there right now, probably because he lives and works in Montana as a farrier.  He has a very plain, conversant style, one which spins out poems as if they were folk stories.  On the surface, what could look like a prosaic quality is actually quite robust in its ability to do that which makes good poetry - to convey many things, to carry many ideas, in a handful of lines.  Thin Kimono is unlike anything else I've read this summer, which is good.  I need some change in my life.  Poems I particularly liked here: "Bluebirds," "When It's Time," "Bubbles Came from Their Noses," "Games in the Sand," and "City at Night."

I [Heart] Your Fate: Again, another book by an author I read and liked earlier this summer (in this case, the earlier book was McCann's Father of Noise).  I [Heart] Your Fate was particularly hit and miss for me.  I really liked some of the poems, I instantly forgot some of the others; this dynamic is defining my relationship with McCann, I think.  I did gain a new appreciation for McCann's style here, though.  He has a sense of sound, of how a line works with the one before and after it, that is quite masterful.  This is particularly on display in the long poems in the middle of the book, which have a wonderful rhythm to them.  Poems I particularly liked here: "Field Work," "Letters of Claire and Trelawny," "Deseret," "Mammal Island," and "More Dreams of Waking." 

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