This chapter reviews Billy Collins's Ballistics, Thom Gunn's Selected Poems, Jim Powell's Substrate, Katha Pollitt's The Mind-Body Problem, Rita Dove's Sonata Mulattica, and Arda Collins' It Is Daylight. The poems in Collins's latest collection are considered dull; the endings of many falling flat, with the speaker gazing at the moon or listening to a bird in hopes of revelation. Gunn's Selected Poems reveals how long he labored to overcome the limitations of his virtues. Powell's Substrate is described as the book of someone who has just been released from a vow of silence and is gabby as a goose. Pollitt's poems are viewed as paeans to domestic stability, to the rueful charms of raising children, to the brownstone comforts of the Upper West Side. Dove poems reflect how her grand ambitions have outreached her modest gifts. Collins is described as a Nietzschean fatalist, yet the world is a mystery to her, a cipher that can never quite be decoded.
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