Reviews of books of poetry, books about poetry, and other books.
- Patricia Beer's Autumn
by Jough Dempsey - 8 December 1998
Patricia Beer's collection Autumn is an embarrassing, solipsistic mess. Like driving by a car wreck, we look at her work with morbid curiosity, but we don't stop to offer assistance...
- Reginald Shepherd's Angel, Interrupted
by Jough Dempsey - 29 September 2002
It's a hard line that Shepherd walks, grounding philosophical abstractions in the real world, deftly moving from the perceptual to the literal.
- David Lehman's The Daily Mirror
by Jough Dempsey - 30 September 2002
David Lehman's The Daily Mirror: A Journal in Poetry falls somewhere between journal writing (or as I like to call DEWTB - 'Diary Entries With Line Breaks') and poetry - in the poet's own words, the results are "hit-and-miss."
- Ron Rash's Among the Believers
by Jough Dempsey - 1 October 2002
Among the Believers is a fine sophomore effort that shows that what Rash lacks in range he makes up for in clarity and directness in diction. These poems work best when taken individually, although something tends to accrue as a whole...
- Ron Rash's Raising the Dead
by Jough Dempsey - 2 October 2002
Raising the Dead, Ron Rash's third book of poetry in just five years, is a masterpiece. It's a rare perfect volume of poetry that hits all the right notes and hits them dead-on...
- Lee Upton's Approximate Darling
by Jough Dempsey - 4 October 2002
Approximate Darling by Lee Upton is an inexplicable collection - there isn't a good poem in the book, but nearly every poem has something good in it. The result is an uneven mess that shows a lot of potential, but never delivers...
- Kate Northrop's Back Through Interruption
by Jough Dempsey - 6 October 2002
Kate Northrop's Back Through Interruption is a remarkable first book. Each poem demonstrates her ability to let air move through the poem - to use silence as another form of punctuation. The results are intriguing, mysterious, accurate, and in most cases, quite beautiful.
- Jared Carter's Les Barricades Mystérieuses
by Jough Dempsey - 19 May 2003
A collection of 32 villanelles: The beauty of an entire volume of villanelles is that eventually the form begins to dissipate, and the poems themselves emerge. The result is hypnotic...