Sunday, March 29, 2009

Let's Get Ready to Rumble

I was just wondering this morning if anyone besides me ever thinks about poetry books going head to head (i.e. books that seem overtly oppositional or in response to another book).

Just finished reading Forrest Gander’s Science and Steepleflower, which is my favorite of his (with Deeds of Utmost Kindness and Rush to the Lake following), and admiring his diction (both technical and colloquial). It seems very much a companion to C.D. Wright’s fabulous Translations of the Gospel back into Tongues.

And of course, there’s Jack Gilbert’s Monolithos and Linda Gregg’s Too Bright to See, a pairing which generates the coolest divorce frisson ever.

On a more pugilistic note, I found myself envisioning a steel cage death match between Satan Says (Sharon Olds) and Cemetery Nights (Stephen Dobyns), as it seems like their projects are mildly inimical. Though both invoke the otherwordly, Olds throws down pentagrams as opposed to the monuments in Dobyns, and the speakers in Satan Says seem more like bare-knuckle brawlers. Edge: Olds.

Anybody else out there with books you find have a lot of backchatter?

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