Green Squall

Jay Hopler, Author, Louise Glueck, Foreword by Yale University Press $32 (71p) ISBN 978-0-300-11453-9
In Louise Gluck's final selection as judge of the Yale Younger Poet's Prize, an alternately ecstatic and self-deprecating speaker measures himself against a ravishing and disinterested natural world that is sometimes a mirror, sometimes an unattainable aspiration. The dialogue in these 34 poems is mostly between the speaker and himself, allowing for pained self-negations: ""...the first, long satisfied sigh of summer. / Satisfied-that can't be right; summer's never / Satisfied."" Hopler's most beguiling lines have the surprisingly convincing turn of haiku and aphorism, though with a healthy dose of irony: ""How disappointing it all is! / The lemon trees, the banyan trees, the sky- / How disappointing it all is."" When other voices enter, they humiliate the speaker, as in ""The Frustrated Angel"": ""That's mighty big talk, isn't it, Hopler-coming from a man who lives with his mother?"" Redemption comes, however briefly, in the transcendent evocations of nature's power: ""Where's the crash- / That climax of diamonds, that wild, yellow / Crash of sparks // the wind will use to set this field / on fire?"" The best of these poems are truly stunning.
Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Paperback - 71 pages - 978-0-300-11454-6
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