Results of the Griffin Poetry Prize in the year 2009.
John Ashbery’s esteem for A. F. Moritz has been seconded repeatedly by critics and readers. Starting in 1975 with Here and continuing through the years to Moritz’s latest, The Sentinel, this poet has carved an important career in poetry. This new collection has already begun garnering praise and awards: the title poem was honored by the prestigious Poetry magazine. These poems, exploring everything from vanishing civilizations to nature’s mysteries, display Moritz’s intelligence and insight blended with a supple craft and wordplay that have made his work unique in the field.
With cameos by jackalopes, Glenn Gould, homemade spaceships, and Carl Linnaeus, these poems are astonishing for their technical agility and their restless inventiveness. There’s an elegance here that matches Dodds’ impulse to challenge the reader with fresh metaphor and astonishing phrasing; the formal ambitions of many of the poems in Crabwise to the Hounds are balanced by an inclination towards wordplay and a bright musicality. Humorous at times, yet always handled with consummate craft, these poems invoke historical figures like Hiram Bingham and Ho Chi Minh even as they traverse a poetic landscape that includes telephone-game-style translations, interpretive dance poems on historic paintings and carnivalesque jaunts into a natural world overrun with mules, Alsatians, lions, and motorcycle-sized-deer.
Kevin Connolly’s four previous poetry books have garnered widespread critical acclaim and awards for their cutting humor, vivid language, and lyricism. Now comes Revolver. A daring marriage of brilliant technical skill and feverish imagination, Revolver features poems that are each written in a different form—“revolving” through various styles while imbuing each with the precise control and sharp wit for which Connolly is noted. This much-anticipated follow-up to drift is both an ideal introduction to this master poet and a worthy successor to his earlier work.