Steve's Reviews > Colosseum: Poems

Colosseum by Katie Ford
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's review
Oct 25, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: poetry
Read in October, 2008

Excepting the outstanding opening poem, “Beirut,” Katie Ford’s new collection, Colosseum, started out pretty weak for me. The opening section, “Storm,” which is about Hurricane Katrina, was filled with what I felt were rather flat, reportage-like poems. But such events can be very hard to write well about. With that in mind, perhaps Ford’s approach is best. Sometimes being a witness is enough – even for a poet. Tell it straight, go light on the Art. Whatever the case, the collection increasingly gained traction for me (closing very strongly), so that by collection’s end, poems I felt were “weak,” placed within the overall context of the collection, did indeed have their place. That’s probably because Ford was wise enough to expand her scope, with historic tragedies such as Pompeii or Nagasaki making their appearances, and then circling back to New Orleans, displacement, family, and friends. Ford’s a fine poet (I was a big fan of her earlier collection, Deposition), and it’s good to see a modern day poet step into Job’s shoes and sing a lament in such a clear-eyed way. There's sentiment, sure, but sentiment tempered by an overwhelming reality: Katrina.

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