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At first, I wasn't sure what to make of Hass' poetry. The poems were long--some of them pages--composed of statements. "She had bobbed hair ..." "He must have received a disability check. ..." "The main course is French, loin of pork probably, with a North African accent, and very good." Knowing that good writers show, not tell, and avoid statements, I began to to wonder if Robert Hass was overrated and almost did not finish the book of poems.
On second re-reading, I fell in love wit ...more
Some of hte poems in this collection follow a traditional, blank verse form, but my favorites are the prose poems, brushing ever so lightly the line between the poetic and flash fiction. In one of my favorites, Quartet, a dinner party of four is described in such a way:
... The main course is
French, loin of pork probably, wi ...more
The second section (prose poems) was particularly wonderful. I also enjoyed the fourth section a lot.
There are poems in this collection that didn't speak to me at all, and I wonder if they will later in life, or if they would have 5 or 10 years ago.
You know what it is about Bob Hass? He gets the ratio of things to ideas in a poem just right, according to some ancient formula, with a result that can be perfect, but also perfectly bland. But he's smart, especially in this book, to make the voice speak with a human frankness that folds back the edges of the page to reveal more dimensions of the poem.
Hass's poems, from a wider vantage, limn a certain bourgeois morality with absolute precision, and by defining its limits, critiques them. But ...more
This one doesn't have the stretched-out, conversational, biographical poems of Sun Under Wood -- nothing like "Regalia For a Black Hat Dancer" or "English: an Ode" -- but it does have some buzzy, mysterious, beautiful, liquid-seeming poems; the whole last section of the book is incredible. Of the prose poems, "A Story About the Body" is unfortunately way far the best, although I still love "Duck Blind" too.