With erudite yet accessible wit, Knox (He Paves the Road with Iron Bars) continues her exploration of just how far one can actually stretch the definition of poetry before it breaks. Like contemporary cabinets of wonders, the poems in this sixth collection display linguistic oddities, both archaic and everyday, quirky historical facts, unlikely literary references and richly extravagant diction ("O/ for a bombazine cloak the color of plankton!"). Her wildness, however, is tempered by a serious commitment to fixed forms-as one of her poems reports, this book contains "two sonnets, two haiku,/ a sestina, an homage/ to George Herbert, some tercets,/ a masque, two translations,/ two erasure poems, an elegy,/ a recipe, a song, an ABC,/ an eclogue, a canzone,/ a group of rubayyat, and other poems." But this is a far cry from New Formalism. Knox is our most irreverent poet to revere history in its various forms. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The undiscovered icon of American poetry.
The best description of this book occurs midway through the long poem, "Hooke's Law": "The book you are reading,/Quaker Guns, contains the/sequence you are reading,/two sonnets, two haiku,/a sestina, an homage/to George Herbert,/some tercets,/a masque, two translations/two erasure poems, an elegy,/a recipe, a song, an ABC,/an eclogue, a canzone, a group of rubayyat, and other poems." Knox's games disarm the reader just as Quaker guns (phony cannons) are meant to discourage pirates. An eccentric formalist scribbler, like a cross between May Swenson and Archie of cockroach fame, Knox (A Beaker) can't resist her own wit: "I'm going to Italy/on Xanax Airlines./I'm going to Pisa/to sojourn in a place." Her engine runs on daffy rhymes, like Nerfand surf, but she is nothing if not serious: "I wanted to make a pair of andirons/for our fireplace, so I pulled down the copper/gutters along the eaves, which I boiled up/with some brass doorknobs and tin cans." This fantasy of making begins in hope and ends in dismay: the poet is aware of the danger of clever word games. But she plays them brilliantly. Highly recommended.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Meet the Author
Caroline Knox is the winner of the 2005 Maurice English Award and the author of six collections of poetry, most recently He Paves the Road with Iron Bars (Verse Press, 2004). Her poems have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, Paris Review, and elsewhere. She has received awards from the NEA, Ingram Merrill Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Poetry magazine.
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