Fred Muratori

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The Study of Human Life

Though Bennett’s poems seem effortless in their lyric grace (“the vanishing/ world of living things no louder than the sound/ of insects whimpering in their dust-sized sorrows”) and organic progressions, they are better described as effortful, given memorable presence by their intimacy, mindful craft, and visionary pursuit. Expect this work to appear on many “best poetry” lists for 2022.

The End of Michelangelo

A timeless oasis of quietude in our contemporary maelstrom of uncertainty and apprehension, Gerber’s poetry vividly reminds us that while “the scale of pleasure ascends into terror…/ the pleasure is in being alive.”

Turn Up the Ocean: Poems

Hoagland’s poetry earns the oft-misused adjective uncompromising for its directness in the face of reality’s “blithering whirlwind of wonder.” Though one wishes his life had not ended so soon, this collection will stand as a fitting capstone to a stellar poetic career.

Cain Named the Animal: Poems

Readers will marvel at McCrae’s ability to achieve Miltonic scope with such economy of expression. His is an original voice well worth close reading.

Zoom Rooms: Poems

Salter’s “fine high language of address and dress” may not appeal to everyone, but those who lament the current dearth of old-school verse will find much to admire here.

a Year & other poems

Not as strikingly original in concept and language as feeld, this new collection adheres to a more personal, intimate aesthetic (“Our separate smoke/ caught/ in the same ascent”) that may or may not connect with any given reader. Still, Charles remains a serious experimental poet who has tasked herself with the challenge of creating “a language capable of itself.”

Winter Recipes from the Collective: Poems

Inherently reticent, like oysters opening ever so slowly, these poems are reluctant to display their pearls, but patient readers will discern an opalescence they may have missed on the first reading.

Against Silence: Poems

Though sometimes uncomfortable to read, Bidart’s unleavened expressions of disillusionment, despair, and futility in the face of age (“the gnarled old hand / that one day you look down and see/ one day to see as yours”) are acts of resistance against the inevitability of death. Their blunt force may escape younger poetry lovers but will resonate poignantly with older generations of readers.

Double Trio: Tej Bet, So’s Notice, Nerve Church

At nearly one thousand pages, this work demands no small investment of time, attention, and, frankly, endurance, but immediate sonic amenities abound (“Inchworm, intaglio, tangency’s / regress”), and Mackey’s gift for deep aphorism (“We were / each only our lone apocalypse”) will reward even brief encounters with this ambitious text.

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