Winter poetry round-up

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Almost Invisible by Mark Strand
Former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Strand's 13th book of poetry consists of poignant observations on the nature of human perception and the fascination with what lies beyond mortality. Concisely written, rich in narrative and full of fable, both humorous and solemn, these prose poems take the reader to a place where death is a street at the end of the world and trains have no final destination. Strand weaves wit and irony through a landscape of nostalgia and melancholy, daring us to experience the impossible and attempting to take us to the realm of the in-between, as the title suggests, the "almost invisible," "that beautiful/place, to behold as only a god might, the luminous conjunc/tion of nothing and all."

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Everyday People by Albert Goldbarth
Albert Goldbarth's new book of poetry is a lively and detailed exploration of human relationships and an expansive examination of the interconnectivity present in the natural world. From underwater ecosystems to slighted lovers, Goldbarth reveals the complexity of the universe as he sees "the way the ageless story of the seed is still/inside the Nile reed." This poet possesses an astounding ability to tap into the notable phenomena of nature; for example, in Darwin's descriptions of seaweed Goldbarth finds "small green desperations." Blending the antediluvian with the contemporary, Everyday People does markedly well in revealing what its author sees as the "secret life in everything."

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Dear Editor by Amy Newman
This book of prose poems takes a conceptually innovative form: It's a collection of letters from an anonymous poet, asking an editor to publish her book of verse. The letters skirt professional decorum and move away from the topic at hand, slowly revealing the complex relationship between the speaker and her grandparents. Employing vivid imagery and metaphor throughout, Newman describes the fumbling awkwardness of adolescent sexuality through the eyes of a female poet who was raised by a chess-obsessed grandfather and a religion-obsessed grandmother. For all its conceptual cleverness, Dear Reader succeeds in exploring the limitations of language, as well as themes of martyrdom, innocence and faith.

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Almost Invisible

By Mark Strand. Knopf, $26.

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>5;legend:Time Out Critic/5

Everyday People

By Albert Goldbarth. Graywolf, $18.

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4;legend:Time Out Critic/5

Dear Editor

By Amy Newman. Persea, $15.

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4;legend:Time Out Critic/5

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