A Walled Garden

Michael Cuddihy, Author
Michael Cuddihy, Author Carnegie-Mellon University Press $7.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-88748-088-1
Reviewed on: 11/28/1989
Release date: 12/01/1989
Winner of the 1988 Academy of American Poets' Neglected Book Award for his first work, Celebrations , Cuddihy affirms the human experience in this able second collection. Ranging in feeling from sorrow to quiet exultation, the poems are consistently measured in tone, conveying guardedly distilled emotion. More concerned with seeking answers than providing them, Cuddihy aims to discern which questions are the most vital to ask in and of life. Readers will be moved by the characteristic modesty and caution that compel him to describe old age as ``the self reduced to a question.'' His tentativeness notwithstanding, Cuddihy proposes a recognition of what is valuable and consequential. For this he turns to the natural world, physical pleasures, love tested and proven (``Because I love you the ceiling and the air / Suddenly matter''). Though often elegiac, his poems recognize what we gain even in the face of loss. (May)
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