The Constant Critic

Timely poetry reviews

Panda

Chris Alexander

Like any good conceptual work, the description of Panda (KFP) by Chris Alexander can be taken at its website-word: Two and a half years in the making, this book-length poem assembles thousands of fan responses, brief summaries and descriptions of the title character from DreamWorks…

Amnesiac

Duriel E. Harris

…I am a word full of E’s &#8212a cool porcelain bell, a spore, a briny rusted lock, a passing scab, an errant cell turning. &#8212“self portrait (with vial & corn tash)” How can one respond to the trauma of global violence? Written against the backdrop…

Lifer

Annette Basalyga

The less I think I know about a poet, the better the chance I’ll take to the book, as long as I can work out what I’m looking at and sail between oh that and I don’t get it. (Sometimes I like the comforts of…

Saint Erasure

Donna de la Perrière

Despite currents of panic and loss flowing through Saint Erasure, this book manifests quietly. It has the feeling of speech performed by a solitary speaker in an abandoned picnic shelter overlooking the sea. If you have driven any stretch of U.S. coastal highway you know…

the new black

Evie Shockley

If your mother or father or the wolf what raised you fulfilled her or his or its obligation to make you fit for civilized company, she or he or it taught you not to be a show-off, a braggart, a gloater. Of course, if whoever…

The Girl Without Arms

Brandon Shimoda

Brandon Shimoda’s The Girl Without Arms (Black Ocean 2010) speaks with a spiritual intensity driven by intuitive pressures to probe through vestiges of family history and the immediate geographic/emotional locations of composition. The resulting book constructs an image, in infrared, of Shimoda’s consciousness. The dominant…

Money Shot

Rae Armantrout

There is great and there is graceful. One does not always lead to or implicate the other, and there is the danger of de trop in both. For that matter, a poet should not be great, for greatness, or, for that matter, grace, can only…