Recent & Notable

Gustaf Sobin, The Places as Preludes. (New Jersey: Talisman House, 2005). 76 pp. $14.95. “Gustaf Sobin’s poems, whose principal heaven is a dawn field in Provence, have always traced a path to the Absolute. His work, which finally must be ranked with that of Celan and Rene Char, causes language to exceed its own condition. Here, words find their true home in exile, a caesura accurately, & exquisitely, measured in lines indistinguishable from musical notation. Indeed, Sobin plucks a music beyond hearing form the strands of a fallen world, & so perfects the art of making ‘manifest omissions.’—Andrew Joron

John Taggart, Pastorelles. (Chicago: Flood Editions, 2004). 104 pp. $13.95. Drawing on the countryside of Pennsylvania, John Taggart updates the pastoral tradition of poetry in this quietly powerful collection. [JT] “John Taggart has long been master of accumulating complexly layered patterns of sound and sense, and here he uses his formal powers with a perfect unobtrusive authority. In these modest “songs” of quiet reflection Taggart echoes the world in which he’s lived, making particular the mind and heart’s persistent need. “—Robert Creeley

Pam Rehm, Small Works. (Chicago: Flood Editions, 2005). 63 pp. $12.95. Like Lorine Niedecker, whose verse is highlighted as epigraph to this collection, Pam Rehm’s poetry has a wily minimalism and a spare beauty that is taut with power. [JT]“These poems have an angelic quality, a solid invisibility that buoys up the lines from under and around them.”—Fanny Howe

Mary Ruefle, A Little White Shadow. (Seattle and New York: Wave Books, 2006). 42 pp. $12.00. Mary Ruefle’s little book has all the strangeness and wonder of Dickinson’s poetry. Part of its power comes from its strangeness; A Little White Shadow is a fully made book from a found object. [JT] “Alongside her justly known poems, Ruefle (Tristimania, 2003) also crafts what she calls "erasures," found texts from which she has crossed out almost all the words, leaving only a tiny poem's worth per page; the latter make up this book. In this pocket-sized reproduction of a whited-out 19th-century volume, Ruefle etches haiku-like minifables, sideways aphorisms, and hauntingly perplexing koans ("the dead/ borrow so little from/ the past/ as if they were alive") from what must have been an unusual text to begin with (Ruefle borrows the book's original title). As much a statement about the act of reading as the act of writing, this is a strange and lovely work by a singular poet.”—Publishers Weekly