Joyelle McSweeney

the false sun recordings

James Wagner

James Wagner is a traditionalist, and, unlike a New Formalist, he improves on tradition, and, unlike most of his peers out here in Po-Mo-land, he is not content to just dazzle us with some complicated formal rhumba or lurid me-first T-shirt. In his first volume,…

Structures of Feeling

Hung Q. Tu

“Rule of pet no more bets” begins this volume, sounding like a loony croupier; or: like a lunar croupier, dazzling in a suit of white space. “Geopolitical or molten core go to hell,” it continues, getting crankier: I was born on a hijacked plane Now…

Unfathoms

Kirsten Kaschock

The nondescript title of Kirsten Kaschock’s first collection attends to some of the most gratifyingly weird poems in recent memory. Identifying Calvino’s Invisible Cities as its aesthetic matrix, the poems of Unfathoms avoid the breeziness of literary surrealism by saturating their fantastic images with allegorical…

The Clerk’s Tale

Spencer Reece

The poems of The Clerk’s Tale strive after fineness, but the heft of these cathedral tunes is unfortunately the sort that oppresses. While Reece’s project is interesting and laudable—to train the vines of life in Florida and other American confines on a graceful filigree of…

SOUND/ (system)

Stephen Ratcliffe

Two systems are made immediately available as conceptual frames through which to read the elegant, glittery fragments of Stephen Ratcliffe’s SOUND/ (system). One frame is the letters of Henry James, which the back cover identifies as “a source” of the poems, and the other is…

Equivalence

Shin Yu Pai

Those professional mourners busy lamenting the current state of the poetry union—too many MFAs, too many first book prizes, too many first books, too many books—will be delighted (or perhaps vexed) to discover poet Shin Yu Pai. Though Equivalence was published by the perspicacious La…

Otherhood

Reginald Shepherd

Reginald Shepherd’s Otherhood is a departure, a whole fleet of departures. More word-centric than his previous volume, these poems proceed by confident brief lines that steer the poems ever further from known shores. In the initial poem, “Reasons for Living,” an account of a lovers’…

The Body’s Question

Tracy K. Smith

Just as I was beginning to have my doubts about ‘negative capability’—maybe it really is just a prank played on posterity by Keats’s sorry MD-style penmanship—along comes a new poet with neg. cap. to spare. Wisely chosen by Kevin Young to receive the 2002 Cave…