The Intricated Soul: New and Selected Poems

Sherod Santos, Author . Norton $25.95 (184p) ISBN 978-0-393-07216-7

At one point in this retrospective, Santos inadvertently describes his own poems as a “soft susurrus/ of myriad whispered conversations/that after all is said and done/ still keep the painful sum of things.” This collection draws from Santos’s five books and includes a significant body of previously unpublished work. Santos is a storyteller, creating vignette-like poems that draw the reader completely into an alien moment. He is unabashedly intimate (”I fear I’m growing less able to answer: Who was she/ whose death now made her a stranger to me?”) and often manages to strike the note between anecdote and maxim: “Was I, / I wondered, spilling over into the world, / or was the world spilling over into me?” The new poems, perhaps written in concert with his recent translation of Greek lyric poetry, draw on the god Pan, Aeneas, and Thucydides to deal with mourning, genocide, and uncertainty. These poems make strong points, but are somehow less compelling than the older ones that confide in us: “that was the dream,/ that was the beginning, when I got/ out of bed on a warm spring morning/ in the middle of June.” (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/25/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
Paperback - 184 pages - 978-0-393-34276-5
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