Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Azores

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Azores

Article excerpt

AZORES by David Yezzi Swallow, 56 pages, $24.95

Quotation marks make all the difference. Take the claim that there are more people writing poetry nowadays than reading it Does this mean that genuine poetry in the manner of, say, Robert Frost's lyrics are reviled by the remnant reading pubUc, or does it mean that no one wishes to read unrhymed, unmetered blather about the evils of homophobic RepubUcans and the poet's parents? Were poetry something worthy of die name, perhaps it wouldn't be regarded by readers as dimly as the electric chair is by convicts.

Some hope for poetry- without the quotation marks- is rendered by the pubUcation of David Yezzi's collection Azores. After an abbreviated career as a classicaUy trained actor, Yezzi has emerged in the last few years as one of the country's best versifiers, even as he has also served as an editor at the New Criterion.

In Yezzi's first coUection, The Hidden Model, he showed his abiUty to go from Ught and ironic verse (your white meat drives me wild / dear circummortal chef, sweet Julia Child) to Unes inspiring readers to wistfulness of time's "swift retreat"

A passionate amateur sailor, Yezzi takes his tide from a sonnet series describing a gale-tossed trek that he took across the eastern Atlantic. …

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