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Poetry - February 2005

  • Issue Number: Volume 185 Number 5
  • Published Date: February 2005
A long-time reader of Poetry, I have a confession to make. I read Poetry for the reviews. It's not that I don't appreciate the poetry, of course—what, in this issue, Wislawa Szymborska describes, along with the work of Plato, as "litter scattered by the breeze from under statues / scraps from that great Silence up on high…"—but what inspires and angers and thrills me, above all, is what is found under the heading "comment." So, by all means, read this issue for the latest work of some our most respected and prolific poets (Sharon Olds, Alice Friman, Carl Dennis, Kay Ryan, among others). But don't skip Meghan O'Rourke's review of "under-read" poet Bill Knott or regular reviewer Brian Phillips's "Ten Takes" and "Et. Al." Philips can be merciless (he labels one poet's new work "garbled half-lyrics slung in neutral white space") or generous (he finds one poet's work "only intermittently interesting" but at the same time concludes "for sheer human fascination her poems are often very engaging"), but his reviews teach us as much about poetry's power and its pitfalls as any manual or workshop and often more than many poems. Of James Longenbach's The Resistance to Poetry, Philips says, "…he wants us to enjoy the ways that poems keep us hanging." What I appreciate, though, about Poetry's reviews is that they never, ever leave us hanging. [Poetry, 1030 North Clark Street, Suite 420, Chicago, IL 60610-5412. E-mail: . Single issue $3.75.] – Sima Rabinowitz
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Review Posted on February 28, 2005

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