Feature

Also of interest...in new poetry

Aimless Love; All the Odes; Stay, Illusion; Dog Songs

Aimless Love
by Billy Collins (Random House, $26)
Don’t let the conversational feel of Billy Collins’s verse fool you, said Austen Rosenfeld in TheDailyBeast.com. America’s favorite poet is “pretty much always funny,” but he’s fastidious about craft. The 50 new entries in this compilation of more than a decade’s worth of work “stand solidly on even ground,” as his poems always do. “Their phrasing is elegant, the humor is alive, and the speaker continues to stroll at his own pace through the plainness of American life.”

All the Odes
by Pablo Neruda (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $40)
How could this book not have existed before? said John Timpane in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Chilean poet Pablo Neruda spent a lifetime dashing off short odes to things of this world—“short, open, rapid, and often joyful poems” that let him have a bit of fun. Appearing here in Spanish with English translations, they fill 900 pages and become “a grateful, grief-stricken, revolving-in-wonder song of life on Earth.” Flip through it at will: “You’ll never find a better ode to french fries.”

Stay, Illusion
by Lucie Brock-Broido (Knopf, $26)
A kind of “frolicsome gravity” courses through Lucie Brock-Broido’s poetry, said Dan Chiasson in The New Yorker. Her latest collection, a National Book Award finalist, addresses subjects like death and aging, but has such a spontaneous air that the voice becomes “some combination of Poe and Stevie Nicks.” When “The Story of Fraulein X” likens the self to a mental patient run amok, the result is “antic, comic,” and, in the poem’s last lines, “devastating.”

Dog Songs
by Mary Oliver (Penguin, $27)
“In a world full of modern and postmodern angst,” Mary Oliver’s optimism begins to look like true wisdom, said Doni M. Wilson in the Houston Chronicle. A lesser writer than the former Pulitzer Prize winner would be cloying in a collection dedicated solely to dogs. But Oliver’s Dog Songs “invites us to linger” in the small joys and dramas that come with canine companionship, creating a brief, welcome escape from the dour, all-too-civilized world of man.

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