Survival Is a Style

Farrar. Feb. 2020. 112p. ISBN 9780374272050. $23. POETRY
Wiman (The Long Home) is doubly famous in the little world of poetry, first as the editor of Poetry from 2003 to 2013 and then as a writer living in the thrall of an unpredictable and incurable form of cancer. Wiman is also an avowed although unconventional Christian, and his writing, in this, his first collection in six years, inevitably reflects all these characteristics and travails. “Another morning of mist./ How many do I have left?” he exclaims, and elsewhere he calls himself “one for whom God is not entirely gone.” The world’s spiritual deficits, and Wiman’s own dire danger of early death, articulately addressed in the extended poem, “Parable of Perfect Silence,” lend urgency to his natural skill and help to shape this collection as an immense step forward for Wiman and an important contribution to the current literary landscape.
VERDICT Essential for Wiman’s readers, this new collection will also speak to any poet or reader alienated by the hard cynicism of much contemporary verse.
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