James Tate’s The Government Lake, published posthumously, has a rigorously soothing effect. These poems deal with the odd, othered and imagined, with fresh precision. Don’t let the prose-looking pages fool you. Just when you’ve found your footing, Tate melts a clock and drips it over all the edges as only a poem or surrealist masterpiece…
Collections of poems are often the antithesis of page-turners. A single poem can call on the same amount of mental energy as a short story or novel’s chapter. There is a relieving aha when I read a single poem and am compelled to either close the book for respite or obsessively read it over and over for a half hour. At times, these intense reading experiences can be just what we want to wrangle in a deep tissue mental and emotional massage.
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