Review by Booklist Review
In his first book since winning the Pulitzer for his Selected Poems (1991), Tate offers a collection full of confused narrative voices, prosaic images made startlingly fresh, and landscapes that curve at the sides like hallucinations. Occasionally, he employs so many contradictory metaphors within a few lines that it becomes difficult to extract meaning. The resulting poems register more as dream fragments than coherent wholes, as does "50 Views of Tokyo," for example, which begins, "Only fly-specks remain. / I have not a thought in my head. / My head is a giant pumpkin with a thousand legs." Tate is at his best when he weaves into his shimmering language such ordinary objects as toy poodles, crayons, Camp Fire Girls, and gum wrappers. In so doing, he solicits the reader with the familiar, then proceeds to act as trail guide to other worlds. ~--Elizabeth Gunderson
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
No other writer is quite like Tate (Reckoner). His earnest verbal anarchy is visual, musical and difficult to characterize or resist. Jazzlike, he seems to invent experience, not just poetry, and the effect is exhilarating for a reader. What is his work about? Envisioning possibilities, and then criticizing, selecting and amending these. Reading a poem is like entering into someone else's rant or vision; one passes through many surprising points of contact in a cloud of apprehension. The encounter for a reader is incongruous, quickening and qualified by Tate's sardonic sense of mischief. ``We are tiny germs that cannot be seen under microscopes,'' he suggests in ``How The Pope is Chosen,'' and in fact Tate conducts himself rather like a germ: fugitive, vital, typically disruptive. The charm of his quick-witted exploits is considerable-but ``charm'' doesn't really describe the intense pleasures of a high-riding imagination that pauses to observe that ``a melancholy bug preens its antennae'' or to report that ``a child has left home and fallen asleep/ on her pink valise beneath a tulip tree.'' (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
Tate uses a vast range of images in his first collection of poetry since winning the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Selected Poems (Wesleyan Univ. Pr., 1991). Only a poet of great sensitivity could know what it is like for "the black-eyed Susans and tiger lilies pushing up/against the odds." These poems invite us into the speaker's living room to share his "house skylarking with broken eyeglasses and books,/pillows and postcards." Personal intimacy unfolds before us as the speaker acknowledges that "the poem has passed./It was here, in this room." The speaker even allows us to witness the creative process as he shows us the daily trivia that fills most of our lives, obscuring life's beauty. The freshness and tenderness of this book is rare, and enjoying its "immense ritual" of poetry should make readers very happy. Highly recommended.-Tim Gavin, Episcopal Acad., Merion, Pa. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.