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Guilty Knowledge, Guilty PleasureThe Dirty Art of Poetry$
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William Logan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166867

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166867.001.0001

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Verse Chronicle

Verse Chronicle

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Chapter:
(p.155) Verse Chronicle
Source:
Guilty Knowledge, Guilty Pleasure
Author(s):

William Logan

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231166867.003.0014

This chapter reviews Richard Wilbur's Anterooms, Yusef Komunyakaa's The Chameleon Couch, Carl Phillips' Double Shadow, Rae Armantrout's Money Shot, Les Murray's Taller When Prone, and Geoffrey Hill's Oraclau ¦ Oracles. In Anterooms Wilbur has made a belated virtue of brevity and simplicity. The poems are at times so simple they could be mistaken for the linsey-woolsey of light verse, but at best they have the severity of memories long abided. Komunyakaa's populist strain has long fought with his love of classical literature and classical reserve; in The Chameleon Couch, the populist gets the upper hand. The poems in Phillips's Double Shadow offer experience both half-lit and melodramatic. Armantrout's poems are micro-dreams of sly vanity, their brute coyness typical of much late-generation avant-garde poetry. Murray's poems bear the stray anecdotes of life in exotic places, places that would have been beyond the means or stamina of a poor gypsy poet. The poems in Hill's Oraclau/Oracles are his border ballads for the misty marchlands beyond Offa's dike, partly the invocation of brute pastoral, partly self-inquisition over certainties long unquestioned.

Keywords:   poets, poetry, Richard Wilburm Yusef Komunyakaa, Carl Phillips, Rae Armantrout, Les Murray, Geoffrey Hill, reviews

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