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A new collection of poetry from an American literary legend, her first in twenty-five years Joyce Carol Oates is one of our most insightful observers of the human heart and mind, and, with her acute social consciousness, one of the most insistent and inspired witnesses of a shared American history. Oates is perhaps best known for her prodigious output of novels and short sto A new collection of poetry from an American literary legend, her first in twenty-five years Joyce Carol Oates is one of our most insightful observers of the human heart and mind, and, with her acute social consciousness, one of the most insistent and inspired witnesses of a shared American history. Oates is perhaps best known for her prodigious output of novels and short stories, many of which have become contemporary classics. However, Oates has also always been a faithful writer of poetry. American Melancholy showcases some of her finest work of the last few decades. Covering subjects big and small, and written in an immediate and engaging style, this collection touches on both the personal and political. Loss, love, and memory are investigated, along with the upheavals of our modern age, the reality of our current predicaments, and the ravages of poverty, racism, and social unrest. Oates skillfully writes characters ranging from a former doctor at a Chinese People’s Liberation Army hospital to Little Albert, a six-month-old infant who took part in a famous study that revealed evidence of classical conditioning in human beings. 


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A new collection of poetry from an American literary legend, her first in twenty-five years Joyce Carol Oates is one of our most insightful observers of the human heart and mind, and, with her acute social consciousness, one of the most insistent and inspired witnesses of a shared American history. Oates is perhaps best known for her prodigious output of novels and short sto A new collection of poetry from an American literary legend, her first in twenty-five years Joyce Carol Oates is one of our most insightful observers of the human heart and mind, and, with her acute social consciousness, one of the most insistent and inspired witnesses of a shared American history. Oates is perhaps best known for her prodigious output of novels and short stories, many of which have become contemporary classics. However, Oates has also always been a faithful writer of poetry. American Melancholy showcases some of her finest work of the last few decades. Covering subjects big and small, and written in an immediate and engaging style, this collection touches on both the personal and political. Loss, love, and memory are investigated, along with the upheavals of our modern age, the reality of our current predicaments, and the ravages of poverty, racism, and social unrest. Oates skillfully writes characters ranging from a former doctor at a Chinese People’s Liberation Army hospital to Little Albert, a six-month-old infant who took part in a famous study that revealed evidence of classical conditioning in human beings. 

30 review for American Melancholy: Poems

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    ’...it is a slew of words in search of a container… a cooing of vowels like doves.’ This is a memorable collection of poems by Joyce Carol Oates that is separated into four sections: THE COMING STORM THE FIRST ROOM AMERICAN MELANCHOLY And THIS IS THE TIME FOR WHICH WE HAVE BEEN WAITING The first collection, THE COMING STORM includes poems with themes based on our collective past history, but these aren’t all poems that rhyme or necessarily have a rhythm that most people associate with poetry. Of ’...it is a slew of words in search of a container… a cooing of vowels like doves.’ This is a memorable collection of poems by Joyce Carol Oates that is separated into four sections: THE COMING STORM THE FIRST ROOM AMERICAN MELANCHOLY And THIS IS THE TIME FOR WHICH WE HAVE BEEN WAITING The first collection, THE COMING STORM includes poems with themes based on our collective past history, but these aren’t all poems that rhyme or necessarily have a rhythm that most people associate with poetry. Of this section, the poem that impacted me the most was OBEDIENCE: 1962 The second collection, THE FIRST ROOM starts out with a poem by the same name THE FIRST ROOM which I really loved, followed by THIS IS NOT A POEM which I also loved, and THE MERCY, whose final lines read: The stroke that wipes out memory is another word for mercy. Some of these narrative poems read more like a very short story, a message, some more like a commentary. The third collection, AMERICAN MELANCHOLY begins with TO MARLON BRANDO IN HELL, a strangely beautiful, if disturbing, take on the negative, destructive side of fame, as well as our willingness, or lack of willingness to offer forgiveness. The fourth and final collection, THIS IS THE TIME FOR WHICH WE WERE WAITING the only poem was heartbreakingly real and my personal favourite: PALLIATIVE Some of these poems cover some of history’s psychological experiments, man’s inhumanity to man, where others are on other disturbing topics, serving as warnings from the past, as well as a somewhat broad range of other topics. There’s a tangible sense of anger or indignation in some, and a sense of awe or love, or even reverence for the course of life, death and sorrow in others. While this won’t appeal to everyone, and readers will love some of these poems more than others, I really appreciated all, and found many of these to be hauntingly beautiful. Published: 09 Feb 2021 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Ecco

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    This is the fourth publication this year alone that I've reviewed of the work of Joyce Carol Oates, but the very first book of her poetry I've read. Each of the other books was different in style from the others (a short story collection, a 4-part novella compilation, an 800-page masterwork novel). And these poems could only have been written by her. Almost all have been previously published in journals and respected periodicals, and her choice of material reflects her intrigue of and rage again This is the fourth publication this year alone that I've reviewed of the work of Joyce Carol Oates, but the very first book of her poetry I've read. Each of the other books was different in style from the others (a short story collection, a 4-part novella compilation, an 800-page masterwork novel). And these poems could only have been written by her. Almost all have been previously published in journals and respected periodicals, and her choice of material reflects her intrigue of and rage against what she perceives as injustice and what damage can be wielded from one human being to another, sometimes under the cloak of "doing good" through scientific experiment. I was particularly wowed by her insight into the life and experience of Marlon Brando and his wasting of his gifts. Again, I wonder, does she ever sleep?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hesper

    American Melancholy is an informative and driven compilation of experiences, thoughts, and insights of the author. Accurate and genuine, all the sensations that come with the little moments and the major events are brought to life through some of these poems.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shannon A

    An insightful and inspired collection of observations. True and honest, these poems bring to light all emotions that come with the small moments and the big events.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ida Maria

    I received an advanced reader's uncorrected e-proof of this book. Thanks to Edelweiss (actually funny cause I am Austrian and those flowers actually grow around where I live in the mountains). I have never read anything by this author before, but as someone with an English lit degree and a lot of passion for poetry and an overdose of personal melancholy on the best of days (and especially when foggy fall crawls the lands) this book seemed like a good fit. And it was. The cover is also really beau I received an advanced reader's uncorrected e-proof of this book. Thanks to Edelweiss (actually funny cause I am Austrian and those flowers actually grow around where I live in the mountains). I have never read anything by this author before, but as someone with an English lit degree and a lot of passion for poetry and an overdose of personal melancholy on the best of days (and especially when foggy fall crawls the lands) this book seemed like a good fit. And it was. The cover is also really beautiful, which kinda helps (as shallow as it may sound). These are the kinds of poems you have to read aloud, I think. Maybe once or twice in your head to feel the words you are about to form, but ultimately you have to breath them into existence. And I loved that. There are different sections and different themes (no surprises there, it's pretty standard for poetry collections and the like). I really feel like this could be beautifully discussed in a literature cycle or book club on poetry night. Most of the poems read more like mini stories. More so than other poetry does. I think it's because the poems actually tell you a story, not hint at one, not giving you a glimpse of something. They actually tell you a story. Whether it be Little Albert or someone or something else. Some other poems felt like streams of consciousness (of a more or less troubled mind). It was a weird mix, but it worked in a way. To be fair, I was a bit surprised to read about Adolf Eichmann (Nazi) and the Holocaust in the poems. Overall, I was not quite sure where the specific American melancholy part of it all was. There was one specific chapter (I think it was the third one) titled American Melancholy. There was talk of the American film industry and specific places. I especially loved the poem "Old America has come to die". There it made sense. But overall?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    a really interesting read! i found the first section "the coming storm" the most interesting & moving. the poems follow a myriad of famous psychological experiments. i also enjoyed the poems "marlon brando...", "this is not a poem", and "hatefugue". overall, i found the collection disconnected. while there was overarching themes, it still seemed like there wasn't a reason all of the poems were in the same book. i also found some poems.... well confusing. while the bloodline poem was beautifully a really interesting read! i found the first section "the coming storm" the most interesting & moving. the poems follow a myriad of famous psychological experiments. i also enjoyed the poems "marlon brando...", "this is not a poem", and "hatefugue". overall, i found the collection disconnected. while there was overarching themes, it still seemed like there wasn't a reason all of the poems were in the same book. i also found some poems.... well confusing. while the bloodline poem was beautifully written the one that follows "harvesting skin" read like a black mirror script with an in brackets plot twist at the end. the poem "american sign language" felt off to me but i would defer to d/Deaf and hard of hearing readers & poets on their opinions. thanks to netgalley for the arc!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mallory

    thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an ARC through NetGalley! unfortunately this was not for me. i can’t bring myself to give it 1 star because i liked a few lines but it really meant nothing to me. the repetition of lines like “because...” in several poems felt meaningless and i think it could have done without them. subject matter felt confused and disorienting without any really message behind it. i’d still be interested in reading some of her novels but this form of poet thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an ARC through NetGalley! unfortunately this was not for me. i can’t bring myself to give it 1 star because i liked a few lines but it really meant nothing to me. the repetition of lines like “because...” in several poems felt meaningless and i think it could have done without them. subject matter felt confused and disorienting without any really message behind it. i’d still be interested in reading some of her novels but this form of poetry didn’t work for me at all. let’s say 1.5 stars for this one.

  8. 4 out of 5

    J. A. Wooton

    Great poems! They were compelling and most of them read just like stories.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    Joyce Carol Oates in the first few poems of her new collection, "American Melancholy," tackles a trio 0f historical psychological experiments that involved how fear can be conditioned in children (Little Albert experiment), the impact of maternal separation on monkey's cognitive and emotional development (Harlow's Monkey experiment) and how individuals are willing to inflict pain on others under the auspices of authority figures (Milligram experiment) that culminates in this third poem with Oate Joyce Carol Oates in the first few poems of her new collection, "American Melancholy," tackles a trio 0f historical psychological experiments that involved how fear can be conditioned in children (Little Albert experiment), the impact of maternal separation on monkey's cognitive and emotional development (Harlow's Monkey experiment) and how individuals are willing to inflict pain on others under the auspices of authority figures (Milligram experiment) that culminates in this third poem with Oates addressing "you", and forces us to confront the following, ""Because the Holocaust was not possible without/following orders. Because the Holocaust was not/possible without continuing to the end./ Because the Holocaust was not possible without you." At the end of the poem she concludes, "Not your fault. Following orders. Continue to the end. You will not be blamed." What makes the impact of these poems so powerful is that Oates uses very simple diction and a very linear thought process like rudimentary philosophy, "If A=B, B=C, then A=C" And yet the message here is that this is faulty logic. Because what seems simple and direct can have profound ramifications if we just blindly follow this simplistic reasoning--because someone with a white coat in a position of authority told me I had to administer shocks to subjects I was just doing what I was told (Milligram experiment). I think these 3 poems should have started the collection rather than a brief poem about a man reading "The Nation," which doesn't pack the emotional wallop that these 3 poems do early in the collection. Oates' strength in these poems can be attributed to her expertise as one of our most prolific fiction writers. She creates vivid scenes with brief descriptions that capture salient insights of the characters that populate her poems ("First job was file clerk at Trinity Trust. Wasted three/years of her young life waiting/for R.B. to leave his wife and wouldn't you think a / smart girl like her would know better?" (Edward Hooper's "Eleven A.M.," 1926). Although effective in inviting the reader to follow the poem's narrative, there are very few lines/stanzas that are memorable poetic diction. Although vivid, the long narrative lines don't dazzle in the way some of our most talented poets almost beg us to remember a brilliant line or stanza. It's not that all of these poems are several page narratives. In fact, the second section of her book has many short poems that attempt to do what I mentioned above. The best one (in my opinion) is a William Carlos Williams derivative of "The Red Wheelbarrow," where she writes in "The Mercy," "So much depends upon/forgetting much/for our/earliest/yearnings never abandon us./ The stroke/that wipes out memory/is another word for mercy." Overall this collection is memorable for its voice rather than necessarily its technique and I appreciated Oates' direct, non-pandering style that calls out how we contribute as a society to our "American Melancholy."

  10. 4 out of 5

    David Jordan

    I can hardly believe how deprived I have been to never have known about Joyce Carol Oates’ poetry. Long accustomed to thinking of her as a writer of novels, which of course she is, it never occurred to me that there might be much more to her immense talent and output than prose alone. What a revelation and a joy to have discovered her poetic talent with this volume, American Melancholy. These poems are riveting, and this book is among the best poetry collections I’ve read in a while. There are t I can hardly believe how deprived I have been to never have known about Joyce Carol Oates’ poetry. Long accustomed to thinking of her as a writer of novels, which of course she is, it never occurred to me that there might be much more to her immense talent and output than prose alone. What a revelation and a joy to have discovered her poetic talent with this volume, American Melancholy. These poems are riveting, and this book is among the best poetry collections I’ve read in a while. There are three poems near the beginning of the book: Little Albert, Harlowe’s Monkeys, and Obedience, which share a theme of scientific research in a deeply moving and surprisingly disturbing way. I was fascinated. There are also several slightly longer poems here, like Too Young to Marry But Not Too Young to Die, A Dream of Stopped Up Drains, and Bloodline Elegy, which read like short stories, so compelling is the narrative of each. Cat lovers, this reviewer included, are sure to appreciate Jubilate: An Homage in Catterel Verse, a delightful reworking of language in celebration of all things feline and wonderful. I’d have been delighted if this book had been twice as long. That’s how good these poems are.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I hadn't read any poetry by Joyce Carol Oates--in fact I didn't even realize that poetry was part of her wide ranging oeuvre--so "American Melancholy" was a revelation to me: powerful, disturbing, thought-provoking. As its title implies, this is a dark collection, with subjects ranging from medical experimentation ("Little Albert, 1920" was particularly wrenching) to suicide and mortal illness, but the power of these poems lies not in lyricism (they are not particularly lyrical at all, in fact) I hadn't read any poetry by Joyce Carol Oates--in fact I didn't even realize that poetry was part of her wide ranging oeuvre--so "American Melancholy" was a revelation to me: powerful, disturbing, thought-provoking. As its title implies, this is a dark collection, with subjects ranging from medical experimentation ("Little Albert, 1920" was particularly wrenching) to suicide and mortal illness, but the power of these poems lies not in lyricism (they are not particularly lyrical at all, in fact) but in the straightforward, almost clinical way Oates confronts these difficult topics. "Too Young to Marry But Not Too Young to Die," "Doctor Help Me," "Old America Has Come Home to Die," "American Sign Language," and, particularly, "Palliative" were the standouts for me, but the collection as a whole is strong. Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for providing me with an ARC of this title in return for my honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Kidwell

    American Melancholy Poems by Joyce Carol Oates Ecco Poetry Pub Date 09 Feb 2021 I am reviewing a copy of American Melancholy through Ecco and Netgalley: Joyce Carol Oates is a powerful observer of the human heart, mind and soul with her profound social consciousness and is one of the insistent and inspired witnesses of a shared American history. Oates is best known for her novels and short stories, many of these have become contemporary classics. But Oates has always written poetry faithfully. And t American Melancholy Poems by Joyce Carol Oates Ecco Poetry Pub Date 09 Feb 2021 I am reviewing a copy of American Melancholy through Ecco and Netgalley: Joyce Carol Oates is a powerful observer of the human heart, mind and soul with her profound social consciousness and is one of the insistent and inspired witnesses of a shared American history. Oates is best known for her novels and short stories, many of these have become contemporary classics. But Oates has always written poetry faithfully. And this collection of American Melancholy showcases some of her finest work of the last few decades. American Melancholy covers subjects that are both big and small. Joyce Carol Oates had written this collection in an immediate and engaging style, and touch both the personal as well as the political. The subjects of loss, love as well as memory are investigated, along with the upheavals of our modern age, the reality of our current predicaments, and the ravages of poverty, racism, and social unrest. In this collection Oates masterfully writes characters ranging from a former doctor at a Chinese People’s Liberation Army hospital to Little Albert, a six-month-old infant who took part in a famous study that revealed evidence of classical conditioning in human beings. I give American Melancholy five out of five stars! Happy Reading!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Scott

    https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres... This is JCO’s first collection of poetry in over 20 years. I have been eagerly awaiting American Melancholy since I pre-ordered it last year. I love JCO’s fiction but her poetry is incredible and her collections especially Tenderness are among my favourites. I had HUGE expectations for American Melancholy and thankfully they were all fulfilled. Each poem is an incredible piece of writing. The poems cover a wide range of subjects. Among the best are poems w https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres... This is JCO’s first collection of poetry in over 20 years. I have been eagerly awaiting American Melancholy since I pre-ordered it last year. I love JCO’s fiction but her poetry is incredible and her collections especially Tenderness are among my favourites. I had HUGE expectations for American Melancholy and thankfully they were all fulfilled. Each poem is an incredible piece of writing. The poems cover a wide range of subjects. Among the best are poems which explore famous or rather infamous psychology experiments including Little Albert and the Stanford Prison Experiment. I would have loved a poem about Pavlov’s dogs but was left disappointed on that front. This was a joy to read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marianne Wason

    I am a devoted reader of Oates's novels, and the only reason I haven't read them all is that I can't keep up with her productivity. This is the first volume of her poems I've read. They take the deep darkness of human nature that she explores in her novels and place them front-and-center in your consciousness. They're raw. As I did with her short story "The Zombie," I had to stop reading some poems because they were so disturbing. Such direct confrontation with human evil may be necessary to hon I am a devoted reader of Oates's novels, and the only reason I haven't read them all is that I can't keep up with her productivity. This is the first volume of her poems I've read. They take the deep darkness of human nature that she explores in her novels and place them front-and-center in your consciousness. They're raw. As I did with her short story "The Zombie," I had to stop reading some poems because they were so disturbing. Such direct confrontation with human evil may be necessary to hone our moral clarity, but sometimes I need to replace the gauzy veil. I will read more of her poems, for sure, because this volume does capture (and entrap) one. Why a 3? Even with Oates's genius with words and phrasing, these poems are more prose rants than poetry, in my sense of them.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    Nope. A dreary, dismal read. Just because she’s written a million books Just because she iconic Just because she’s old Just because publishers feel they have to publish anything a famous author writes Just because too many critics are afraid to say “it stinks” See, I can do it too. Would anyone like to publish me? Sorry, I’m honest and humble enough to know that what I just wrote in parody doesn’t deserve your money. I’ll just have to die in obscurity. But, so glad I checked this one out of the librar Nope. A dreary, dismal read. Just because she’s written a million books Just because she iconic Just because she’s old Just because publishers feel they have to publish anything a famous author writes Just because too many critics are afraid to say “it stinks” See, I can do it too. Would anyone like to publish me? Sorry, I’m honest and humble enough to know that what I just wrote in parody doesn’t deserve your money. I’ll just have to die in obscurity. But, so glad I checked this one out of the library (along with her recent short story collection which I also thought was a dud). I would have been angry had I wasted my hard earned pennies (which is what Half Priced would have given me to take it off my hands).

  16. 5 out of 5

    Roger DeBlanck

    Oates’s poetry is accessible and reads fast, and her love of storytelling takes precedent as an abundance of her poems serve as narratives that often focus on historical figures and events. I commend her conscientiousness and vigilance at confronting inhumanity and injustice, although for the most part I found her poetic voice rambled into diatribes. I agree with many of the concerns Oates addresses, such as her condemnation of wayward human behavior, but I did not feel that her poetic vision ca Oates’s poetry is accessible and reads fast, and her love of storytelling takes precedent as an abundance of her poems serve as narratives that often focus on historical figures and events. I commend her conscientiousness and vigilance at confronting inhumanity and injustice, although for the most part I found her poetic voice rambled into diatribes. I agree with many of the concerns Oates addresses, such as her condemnation of wayward human behavior, but I did not feel that her poetic vision captured many lasting images, nor did her style feel like much more than verbose prose with line breaks.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amie

    Joyce Carol Oates is a standout in the literary community for good reason. Her writing is filled with depth and feeling that is tied to her strong imagery. This collection of poetry is no different, but it is not for the faint of heart. American MELANCHOLY, indeed. I kept waiting for there to be some lightness in this collection, but it was heaviness multiplied. With topics including psychological experiments, animal abuse, suicide, and even the terrible person that was Marlon Brando, the collec Joyce Carol Oates is a standout in the literary community for good reason. Her writing is filled with depth and feeling that is tied to her strong imagery. This collection of poetry is no different, but it is not for the faint of heart. American MELANCHOLY, indeed. I kept waiting for there to be some lightness in this collection, but it was heaviness multiplied. With topics including psychological experiments, animal abuse, suicide, and even the terrible person that was Marlon Brando, the collection leaves plenty to think about, but no one should revel in that depth of darkness. Recommended with reservations. Advanced copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Excellent collection of poems which live up to the title of this book. Felt that these poems worked exactly as the author intended: to disturb, illuminate, and articulate through art some of the tragedies and atrocities of our shared past. Left me deeply affected and contemplative. Some of these were very upsetting, but skillfully done. My favorites from the book: Harlow's Monkeys, Doctor Help Me, American Sign Language; and Bloodline, Elegy. I've wanted to start exploring more poetry; I've got a Excellent collection of poems which live up to the title of this book. Felt that these poems worked exactly as the author intended: to disturb, illuminate, and articulate through art some of the tragedies and atrocities of our shared past. Left me deeply affected and contemplative. Some of these were very upsetting, but skillfully done. My favorites from the book: Harlow's Monkeys, Doctor Help Me, American Sign Language; and Bloodline, Elegy. I've wanted to start exploring more poetry; I've got a long way to go.

  19. 4 out of 5

    peppersocks

    Reflections and lessons learned: “Even a women’s fur coat terrified me for how could I trust softness?” A collection of poetry featuring critical as well as emotional analysis of identifiable psychological moments? Phwoar?! Classic conditioning, war, gun control and suicide, Such considered and unusual prose makes this author most interesting. I did end up with Borrell, J voice with me throughout though as it is true - all my life, watching... a state that I thought that was fairly static as the A Reflections and lessons learned: “Even a women’s fur coat terrified me for how could I trust softness?” A collection of poetry featuring critical as well as emotional analysis of identifiable psychological moments? Phwoar?! Classic conditioning, war, gun control and suicide, Such considered and unusual prose makes this author most interesting. I did end up with Borrell, J voice with me throughout though as it is true - all my life, watching... a state that I thought that was fairly static as the American dream ideal, but reflected that life sometimes has to have Borrell, J character

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jeimy

    I was torn between a four-star rating and a five-star rating because these poems are not easy to read. They hold a mirror up to history, current events, and pop culture and what is reflected is not only not flattering, but slightly perturbing...definitely haunting. When describing this collection to a friend I described it as the equivalent of rubbernecking. You don't really want to see anything too gruesome, but your neck instinctively turns to see the wreckage. I was torn between a four-star rating and a five-star rating because these poems are not easy to read. They hold a mirror up to history, current events, and pop culture and what is reflected is not only not flattering, but slightly perturbing...definitely haunting. When describing this collection to a friend I described it as the equivalent of rubbernecking. You don't really want to see anything too gruesome, but your neck instinctively turns to see the wreckage.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nathaniel Darkish

    A well-written collection of poetry that pays tribute to some of my favorite poets, such as Billy Collins and William Carlos Williams. Oates is a master of language, so it should be no surprise that her poetry is tight and compelling. I particularly thought the poem about Marlon Brando (now in hell) was powerful.

  22. 5 out of 5

    J.D. DeHart

    Whether writing prose or poetry, long or short form, Joyce Carol Oates consistently offers perspective and experience. Some titles in this collection are brief, captures in a few lines, while others bask across the space of pages. Oates is an expert wordsmith, and this collection is recommended for poetry lovers.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Leonard

    A great selection of insightful poems by Oates who is better known as a novelist, but does have nearly a dozen books of poetry to her credit. I was intrigued by the observation that some of these poems would be called lists, and by the many lines that start with the word "because," which seems to be a sensible way to write a poem. A great selection of insightful poems by Oates who is better known as a novelist, but does have nearly a dozen books of poetry to her credit. I was intrigued by the observation that some of these poems would be called lists, and by the many lines that start with the word "because," which seems to be a sensible way to write a poem.

  24. 5 out of 5

    David LaLone

    This poetry book is full of hard-punching poems. To stick with the boxing analogy, each poem comes at you from a different angle. I could not dodge the jabs or the hooks. This was not a book I could sit for any length and read but, only in small portions. You could say I didn't have the stamina for a 12 round bout with this great poet. This poetry book is full of hard-punching poems. To stick with the boxing analogy, each poem comes at you from a different angle. I could not dodge the jabs or the hooks. This was not a book I could sit for any length and read but, only in small portions. You could say I didn't have the stamina for a 12 round bout with this great poet.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Thompson

    I found Oates's storytelling compelling, which I guess is no surprise. My initial instinct was that she's not overly interested in form, but upon further reflection, I think it would be more accurate to say that I didn't understand a lot of her form choices. After all, one doesn't put a line break in the middle of a word by accident. I found Oates's storytelling compelling, which I guess is no surprise. My initial instinct was that she's not overly interested in form, but upon further reflection, I think it would be more accurate to say that I didn't understand a lot of her form choices. After all, one doesn't put a line break in the middle of a word by accident.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laurel L. Perez

    I don't recall ever having read any of Oate's poetry previously, and I'm a big fan of her prose. And this covers a lot, this is a big complex collection. I'm just going to say it's not my favorite of her work, I enjoy the short stories, or her more horrific tales and novellas. I don't recall ever having read any of Oate's poetry previously, and I'm a big fan of her prose. And this covers a lot, this is a big complex collection. I'm just going to say it's not my favorite of her work, I enjoy the short stories, or her more horrific tales and novellas.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Raelene

    I found some of these poems beautiful and captivating and deeply resonant. I found some odd and opaque and not for me. Most were thoughtful and thought provoking, emotionally driven, and a few downright mesmerizing.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    "It's the quiet after the gunshots you remember." p.21 "Because the recklessness of adolescence is such elation, the heart is filled tp bursting. Because recklessness is the happy quotient of desperation" p.47 "It's the quiet after the gunshots you remember." p.21 "Because the recklessness of adolescence is such elation, the heart is filled tp bursting. Because recklessness is the happy quotient of desperation" p.47

  29. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Not for me - not very creative or thought-provoking, and I really could've done without the fat-shaming in the Brando poem. Not for me - not very creative or thought-provoking, and I really could've done without the fat-shaming in the Brando poem.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Incredible. Full review to follow

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