Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sampling from a Dialogue

I took Don Coles' How We All Swiftly (a compilation of Coles' first six books, published between 1975-'91) out of the library a few days ago and started reading it. I've been meaning to read Coles for years, as all kinds of bright folks whose opinions about poetry I value sing his praises. I have to admit, based on the few poems of his I had read, I had a hard time seeing what they found so wonderful. But I'm getting it now. Phrases like "deceptively simple" get used to describe so much stuff that really is just simple, that I'm automatically suspicious of anything that gets so described. It's often just an apology for work that's prosaic. But it really is an apt description of what Coles is about. There are absolutely brilliant poems in this book, including the one I've recorded here, which is a sort of exploded sonnet (20 lines, but the last 8 lines are really a rhyming couplet). And I'm only partway into the second book out of six so far. If you're looking for a hell of a book bargain (6 for 1!), you should check this one out.

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