The University of Iowa

Iowa Writers' Workshop Alumnae in 'Boston Review'

Books by poets Alice Notley, Carrie Bennett, and Suzanne Buffam, alumnae of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, have been favorably reviewed in the current issue of Boston Review. In his review of Alice Notley's Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems, 1970–2005, Brian Teare writes:
[O]ut of an oeuvre famous for profligate heterogeneity, Notley has assembled both a new, coherent book out of 30 years of work and a testament to her promise that “I will never not make a sound . . . I will ride this voice as I change, as always am.” "Whole New World," by Brian Teare
Reviews of Carrie Bennett's biography of water and Suzanne Buffam's Past Imperfect, both debut collections of poetry, are featured in the magazine's "Microreviews" section. Nadia Herman Colburn remarks that biography of water "reads like a book that needed to be written, driven by feeling as much as by idea, guided by purpose and personal vision instead of by guesswork, ambition, or frivolity." In her piece on Past Imperfect, Workshop alumn Sandra Lim observes "the book’s charged and intimate music."

Brian Teare's piece on Alice Notley's Grave of Light is one of three long reviews in the issue's "On Poetry" section; the other two were written by Workshop alumnae Joyelle McSweeney and Tanya Larkin. McSweeney reviews Recyclopedia: Trimmings, S*PeRM**K*T, and Muse & Drudge, a compilation of three out-of-print books by "magpie-poet-mage" Harryette Mullen. In her piece on The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch and The Collected Fiction of Kenneth Koch, Larkin remarks:

One wonders if, having been raised by wolves and Kenneth Koch’s poems alone, one would have become not only a fine citizen, but a great princely poet. Indeed, there is something simultaneously primitive and aristocratic about Koch’s poems, and this is a paradox we happily accept, if not because of his outward goofiness, then because we feel included in his anti-hierarchical love for everything. "Last Laughs," by Tanya Larkin

Lively reviews all. For those unfamiliar with the journal, Boston Review is well-regarded as a national magazine of political, cultural, and literary ideas, published bimonthly.


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