Two Books: Charles Martin, Future Perfect; Adam Tavel, Catafalque
Charles Martin, Future Perfect
Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018
ISBN 978-1-4214-2535-1, 88 pp., USA $19.95, paperback
Adam Tavel, Catafalque
Evansville, Indiana: The University of Evansville Press, 2018
ISBN 978-0-930982-77-5, 108 pp., USA $15.00, hardcover
Charles Martin’s new collection, Future Perfect, is a book deeply involved with books. From a translation of a passage of Euripides, to a poem based on a Biblical story, to an imagined letter from Anna Akhmatova to Robert Frost, to several poems drawn from the life and work of Weldon Kees, virtually all the poems in this book are engaged in dialogue with other texts. This gives the collection a reverberant quality, as our own memories of, or ideas about, the texts Martin is responding to echo through our reading of his poems, making Future Perfect in some ways more than the sum of its parts. As well as being a tour through texts that have meaning for its author, Future Perfect could almost be considered an encyclopedia of forms. Its seventy pages include sonnets, villanelles, sestinas, and poems written in ottava rima stanzas, quatrains and couplets, among others. The forms are all expertly managed, and the range provides a pleasing sense of variety as one goes through the collection.
In addition to stand-alone short lyrics, the book contains several longer sequences. “From Certain Footprints Found at Laetoli,” inspired by a news article, is a . . .
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