The Constant Critic

Timely poetry reviews

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…

Bird Lovers, Backyard

Thalia Field

And now I persuade you to acquire a book from which any quote or sampling is both wholly representative and of no indicative use whatsoever. Let’s! Were I to ask the Lord why Bird Lovers, Backyard is not one of Barnes and Noble’s 100 Best…

The Last 4 Things

Kate Greenstreet

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Kate Greenstreet read from her first book, Case Sensitive (Ahsahta 2006). It struck me, at the time, how much her reading style conveyed the sense of thought in real time, as opposed to language that…

Wings Without Birds

Brian Henry

Readers familiar with Quarantine (Ahsahta Press, 2006) and Stripping Point (Counterpath, 2007)—Brian Henry’s most recent books until Wings Without Birds came out from Salt—will immediately see this book as a departure. First, Quarantine and Stripping Point both strongly hinge on inviting us to think of…

Poets Without Products

Amanda Ackerman, Divya Victor, Carol Watts, Joseph Mosconi, Ariel Goldberg, Mairéad Byrne

Wherein the reader complaints about what is and what isn’t, in equal measure and to no real effect. I get many books in the mail. Mostly shiny, mostly fine. Fine as in that which is levied against those who have committed an infraction. Or a…

Each and Her

Valerie Martínez

The world is filled with appalling things, impossible to rank or even count. But difficulties of enumeration don’t make the horrors equal, even if each must remain distinct to those who endure them. That said, some injuries elude comprehension. The abnormal is easy to understand,…

Memoir and Essay

Michael Gottlieb

Michael Gottlieb’s Memoir and Essay is equal parts love letter to New York and knifetwisting account of how underground writing gets made. The thing about love letters to New York, though, is that New York doesn’t read anymore, and if it did, it wouldn’t pay…