Posted inPoetry

Glow-in-the-Dark Jigsaw Pieces

I have a habit, when reading a good book of poetry, of looking for the places where the poet seems to be reflecting on his or her own sense of what poetry is. Arthur Sze, one of my favorite poets, writes, “If I sprinkle iron filings onto a sheet / / of paper, I make visible the magnetic lines / of the moment.”

Posted inPoetry

Poem as Prayer: Mark Wunderlich’s “The Earth Avails”

Much of Mark Wunderlich’s decidedly sincere and dexterous new book The Earth Avails derives, as well as extrapolates from a little leather volume of common prayers, a treasury of highly particular, utilitarian 19th-century Protestant folk devotionals. Not only has he carefully reconstituted these idiosyncratic beseechments and their pious worldview, he has exceeded them in a number of ways.