Robert Beveridge's Reviews > Time and Materials

Time and Materials by Robert Hass
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Aug 08, 11

bookshelves: 2010-goal-list, cuy-co-pub-lib, finished
Read from April 03 to 06, 2011, read count: 1

Robert Hass, Time and Materials: Poems 1997-2005 (Ecco, 2007)

Robert Hass is a former Poet Laureate of the United States, which should tell you all you need to know about the quality of his work. And Time and Materials, the first book he published after his laureateship, does not disappoint in that regard.

“In one version of the legend, the sirens couldn't sing.
It was only a sailor's story that they could.
So Odysseus, lashed to the mast, was harrowed
by a music that he didn't hear—plungings of sea,
Wind-shear, the off-shore hunger of the birds...”
(“Envy of Other People's Poems”)

If there is a complaint to be had with the book, it's that the poems here feel safe; it didn't feel to me as if Hass was pushing any envelopes. Still, that's not necessarily a bad thing when your work is this good (and you make it look this easy; trust me, it isn't). If you're a fan of Hass', or of modern poetry (“modern” in the sense of “traditional free verse” rather than “various avantgarde movements”) in general, then you will probably find this an enjoyable read. It'd also make a good intro to modern poetry for a novice, one thinks. *** ½
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