In one of his finest books in a career spanning five decades, Ramke—who is a highly regarded experimental poet, an unflinching recorder of the intimacies between people, and an expert at deploying esoteric knowledge as metaphor—chooses the sky as the guiding figure for his 11th collection of poems. Ramke’s sky is something longed for, wished for, and out of reach (“I asked my brother is it possible/ to stand on a cloud, he said no”), also representing the ways loved ones are both near and distant at once. Ramke (Theory of Mind) also describes the acts of imagination—dreaming, and of course, writing—letting the sky inspire a wish for openness and lucidity: “I used to love numbering the segments of poems, making a larger entity of hurried fragments/.../ this would result in momentum, cause me to move forward anticipating pleasures....” As in previous books, Ramke delves into the anthropology of words (“Art. Article. Articulate. Artifact. Artery. Arthritic”) and welcomes the words of other writers, from Weil to Mary Oliver, into his lines. In these poems, Ramke achieves a new inner calm, even as he contemplates death, finality, and fear. While it’s by no means an easy read—neither in terms of content nor form—this is one of Ramke’s most accessible and powerful books. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2012 Release date: 04/01/2012 Genre: Fiction
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