Ah, you win, Claudia, for what's basically eighteen blogposts bound up as a book. You might have even gotten 5 stars out of me if it weren't for yourAh, you win, Claudia, for what's basically eighteen blogposts bound up as a book. You might have even gotten 5 stars out of me if it weren't for your ending, which didn't wrap back around to the personal in any way I found satisfying, but was probably meant to be some big-hearted opening out into the political, and I'm at fault as a reader for not respecting that, but it felt tacked on. Like, you just exited throwing a few quotations over your shoulder. Don't get me wrong I'm all FOR Fanny Howe and Celan, but letting them end your book seemed lame to me, and as if you were afraid for some reason of returning to the earlier nervy material.
But I forgive you, because of passages like these:
This week the indie channel is playing and replaying spaghetti westerns. Always someone gets shot or pierced through the heart with an arrow, and just before he dies he says, I am not going to make it. Where? Not going to make it where? On some level, maybe, the phrase simply means not going to make it into the next day, hour, minute, or perhaps the next second. Occasionally, you can imagine, it means he is not going to make it to Carson City or Texas or somewhere else out west or to Mexico if he is on the run. On another level always implicit is the sense that it means he is not going to make it to his own death. Perhaps in the back of all our minds is the life expectancy for our generation. Perhaps this expectation lingers there alongside the hours of sleep one should get or the number of times one is meant to chew food—eight hours, twenty chews, and seventy-six years. We are all heading there and not to have that birthday is not to have made it.
Sad is one of those words that has given up its life for our country, it's been a martyr for the American dream, it's been neutralized, co-opted by our culture to suggest a tinge of discomfort that lasts the time it takes for this and then for that to happen, the time it takes to change a channel. But sadness is real because once it meant something real. It meant dignified, grave; it meant trustworthy; it meant exceptionally bad, deplorable, shameful; it meant massive, weighty, forming a compact body; it meant falling heavily; and it meant of a color: dark. It meant dark in color, to darken. It meant me. I felt sad....more
It's another two-and-three-quarters review. As good as his war poems are, and as MIND-BLOWINGLY AMAZING as his criticism is, the female persona poemsIt's another two-and-three-quarters review. As good as his war poems are, and as MIND-BLOWINGLY AMAZING as his criticism is, the female persona poems irritate me no end. I loved one of the posthumous poems, "Gleaning." And "The Face." And "Moving"—maybe my favorite, in its objectless, identityless wandering; it reads like a draft, which I somehow really like. But on a par with Lowell and Bishop, as Pritchard claims in the introduction? I can't hear it. ...more
I'm always surprised not to hate poetry by Pinsky...some of these really having something going for them, though. He'll create these elaborate pastichI'm always surprised not to hate poetry by Pinsky...some of these really having something going for them, though. He'll create these elaborate pastiche mosaics, all interlocking and fascinating (if a bit too tidy)—and then suddenly they get interrupted by his voice/tone, which really just does not do it for me. It's still a solid three stars, because I like some of the lines, but I wish he'd pull out the stops sometimes, get messier, be more (yes, I'm going to say it) Jewy and less goy. I'll give him points for, if nothing else, the super-short poem "XYZ," here in its entireity:
The cross the fork the zigzag—a few straight lines For pain, quandary and evasion, the last of signs. ...more