Denver Quarterly editor and questing poetic experimenter—engages with con"/>

Tendril

Bin Ramke, Author . Omnidawn $14.95 (117p) ISBN 978-1-890650-26-1

In his ninth collection of poems, Ramke—a Yale Younger Poetry Prize winner, Denver Quarterly editor and questing poetic experimenter—engages with contemporary American politics, philosophical and literary traditions, and an oblique version of autobiography. “Can you tell the casualty from the cause?” he wonders, in “Yeats Was Asked (To Write a Poem About the War),” one of several looks at America's current embattled state. Elsewhere, in these 26 rambling, often several page, free verse meditations, Ramke describes a historical insane asylum in which, “When a patient could properly behave at tea, he was released”; recalls the dying days of a famous mathematician; thinks about child- and fatherhood; and engages in his trademark intertextual and etymological wonderings: “the word fear is related to fare and it fits.” In this mature work, Ramke remains a difficult, sometimes obscure poet, related at times to Ashbery and Jorie Graham, but also a stylist very much of his own invention. And amid dizzying references, brilliant points of emotional clarity and depth shine through: “we are afraid of everything, just not all the time.” (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/30/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
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