"The last of the old poems in Field’s latest selection is “Sorry, I Never Slept with Allen Ginsberg.” It’s as grand a valediction to the old bohemian as he’s likely ever to get, and it forcibly reminds us of another queer, Jewish, radical, New York poet who’s much more fun to read—Edward Field! Although he has been as footloose as his famous coeval (many older poems attest to voyages from North Africa to Afghanistan, and one of the newest concludes, “I’ll keep going, keep going, keep going . . .”), Field still seems much more of a homebody, writing about pottering about the apartment and the city more than faraway places. When he writes about the (his) body, he is wondrous as Ginsberg but commonplace and funny rather than cosmic and vatic. When he’s vulgar (reasonably often), he’s like a benign, though filthy, stand-up comic, minus the cynicism. His celebrated Hollywood poems, extrapolating from silver screen “classics” both actual (“Bride of Frankenstein”) and conceptual (“Comeback”), are incisively mordant and pitifully moving, masterpieces of camp sensibility. But if humor predominates in his older work, anger suffuses the new poems, written after the fall of the Twin Towers. Because the anger is mastered and channeled into cogent, down-to-earth speech, Field’s may be the best 9/11 protest poems yet."
“Edward Field may indeed have something in common with the café patron in one of his poems who sobs 'Je suis vieux!' but he is still producing spry, animated poems, which perfectly mix honesty and playfulness. Let us stand up, friends, and give his new collection a round of loud applause.”
"It [After the Fall] is a testimony, or rather a witnessing of a very rich and deep life. Field is a poet that does not take himself too seriously, and that renders his poetry, not only readable, but simply put, great."
Field is among the first American poets to write proudly and clearly about urban gay life.This new-and-selected (Field's 16th book of verse overall) shows that his virtues-and limits-have remained consistent throughout. At his best Field is direct, likable, modest, charming, a storyteller : he writes purposefully and directly of bathhouse life in the 1970s, Jewish-American heritage, Middle Eastern travels in "a world where, unlike ours, men like each other"; and allegorically of the Pacific octopus, "who needs love,/ who is a mess when you meet,/ but who can open up like a flower with petal arms." At less than his best, Field's unadorned style can make him sound predictable: his poems are only as interesting as their stories and ideas. "Nowadays there's nothing radical left, certainly not/ in the Village," he complains in a poem from the 1990s. A recent 9/11 poem objects to "a gang of psychopaths taking over the government." Irreplaceable in the history of gay American writing, Field helped invent some of the attitudes and the subgenres that are now in common use. If many of Field's own poems now seem flat and dated, enough still seem fresh to give serious strength to this book. (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information