Thursday, September 23, 2010

Poetry Magazine - A Great Review

I thought about not renewing my subscription to the American magazine Poetry but I've just got the September issue and I'm enjoying it so much I may even send the money. I read the reviews and the comment section first then the poetry.

I mentioned here recently a wonderfully opinionated review in Poetry Ireland Review and there's something similar in the issue of Poetry in a review of a new collection by Robert Hass a Pulitzer Prize winning American poet who served as Poet Laureate of the U.S. from 1995 to 1997.

The review by Michael Robbins of The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems, by Robert Hass has a iconoclastic tone, unafraid to criticise Hass and have a few swipes at other pillars of the American poetry on the way. It's not a negative review, he does praise where he considers praise is due.

A quote:

Like Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, and Sharon Olds—in their different ways—Hass has made a career out of flattering middlebrow sensibilities with cheap mystery. Unlike those poets, Hass has real talent. The Apple Trees at Olema is a frustrating blend of banality and brilliance.

He quotes Hass:

On the oak table
filets of sole
stewing in the juice of tangerines,
slices of green pepper
on a bone-white dish.

—From “Song”

and says:

This isn’t poetry, it’s a list of stuff in Hass’s kitchen.

Great stuff indeed.

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