Trampling Out the Vintage
This chapter reviews C. K. Williams's Wait, Tony Hoagland's Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty, Keith Douglas's Simplify Me When I'm Dead, Don Paterson's Rain, Derek Walcott's White Egrets, and Anne Carson's Nox. Williams is described as a bleaker and more lurid version of Frost, with a dash of self-loathing. The title is Hoagland's book is considered the funniest thing about it. His new poems celebrate that great American religion, shopping, and that great American temple, the shopping mall. Douglas's poems vary wildly, a job lot of gestures and rhetoric more borrowed than invented. Paterson's poems are nervy, prickly, sometimes elliptical, and Scottish. He likes the binding obligation of rhyme and meter, but wants license to shake things up now and then. Walcott's poems reflect his usual command and authority, despite being weakened by the terrible roil of age and the “quiet ravages of diabetes.” Carson is considered a queer fish, an unconventional. One is never sure what she'll do next, only that it will be riveting and fatiguing by turns, or perhaps both at once.
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