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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.
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