The Constant Critic

Timely poetry reviews

Hi-Density Politics

Urayoán Noel

To re-site the body&#8212to remember&#8212 To cruise the city&#8212Lorca meets Joe Brainard! (from “Hi-Then (salutation)”) Unafraid to run on his infectious, jangling nerve, Urayoán Noel weds witty word play to his call for a protean identity politics. By utilizing a variety of constraints and poetic…

The New Masculinist Lyric Redux

Click HERE for a PDF review of the following books: Daniel Tiffany’s Privado (Action Books, 2010) Ronaldo V. Wilson’s Poems of the Black Object (Futurepoem, 2009) Brian Teare’s Sight Map (Univ. of California Press, 2009) Roberto Tejada’s Exposition Park (Wesleyan University Press, 2010)

The Mystery of the Hidden Driveway

Jennifer L. Knox

I have often wondered, because I clearly have too much free time, if there is anything upon which contemporary poets could agree. The only candidate I’ve found thus far is “Chicken Bucket,” a poem from Jennifer Knox’s A Gringo Like Me. “Chicken Bucket” has earned…

The History of Violets

Marosa di Giorgio

Ugly Duckling Presse has just published a translation of Uruguayan poet Marosa di Giorgio’s 1965 book, The History of Violets. The press’s website, which has not-to-be-missed audio clips of the author reading her work in the original Spanish, bears quotes from Kent Johnson and the…

Meddle English

Caroline Bergvall

It is a set of Russian nesting-dolls, which means something if you are not Russian, and something else if you are. And something still further if you like dolls, and something else if you do not. For everything means something in terms of its not….

Haecceities

Michael Cross

On the eve of the second decade of the twenty-first century we are confronted by the potential passing of the print book in for-profit publishing. While small presses specializing in books that require paper bodies may sit at some distance from the fray, challenges to…

Driven to Abstraction

Rosmarie Waldrop

The contents of this book are presented in two main parts, the first part containing five long poems, the second part subdivided into four movements, each movement containing two to five short poems and followed by an interlude, the whole part enveloped by an opening…

The Cloud Corporation

Timothy Donnelly

Something’s…wrong. Ask anyone. Tremendous consensus! A quorum undermined only by the variety of possible explanations, for when a people intuit threat, they turn to metaphor. What thrill we extract from making little monsters to manage enormous fears. So of those pop monsters made monstrous by…

Lighthead

Terrance Hayes

When the books are closed, I have the idea Terrance Hayes’s more memorable poems use lust as an engine; when I actually look at his poems, though, something weirder and shyer is animated there. “Woofer (When I Consider the African American),” from 2006’s Wind in…

We Press Ourselves Plainly

Nathalie Stephens

In a review of Touch to Affliction, Meg Hurtado describes Nathalie Stephens as “a tragic poet, in the word’s truest sense.” Stephens’ most recent book, We Press Ourselves Plainly, asks what happens to a body, a mind, a landscape that has absorbed the history of…

Life of a Star

Jane Unrue

By definition the prose poem arises from a site of struggle and composes a union of opposites. We know that a prose poem succeeds when we discern the struggle and see the way in which the tension inherent in the genre reveals something essential about…