Reading ➿ Natural History Author Dan Chiasson –

Natural History My favorite modern poet Years later, lines will drift back to me Got this one as gift from a colleague Was one of the better collections of contemporary poetry I have read in some time Chiasson s poetry has a colloquial ease with an unobtrusive techincal mastery If anyone typically bypasses Dan Chiasson, Hailed As One Of The Most Gifted Poets Of His Generation Upon The Appearance Of His First Book, Takes Inspiration For His Stunning New Collection From The Historia Naturalis Of Pliny The Elder What Happens Next, You Won T Believe, Chiasson Writes In From The Life Of Gorky, And It Is Fair Warning This Collection Suggests That A Person Is Like A World, Full Of Mysteries And Wonders And Equally In Need Of An Encyclopedia, A Compendium Of Everything Known The Long Title Sequence Offers Entries Such As The Sun There Is One Mind In All Of Us, One Soul, Who Parches The Soil In Some Nations But In Others Hides Perpetually Behind A Veil , The Elephant How To Explain My Heroic Courtesy , The Pigeon Once Startled, You Shall Feel Hours Of Weird Sadness Afterwards , And Randall Jarrell If Language Hurts You, Make The Damage Real The Mysteriously Emotional Individual Poems Coalesce As A Group To Suggest That Our Natural World Is Populated Not Just By Fascinating Creatures Who, In Any Case, Are Metaphors For The Human As Chiasson Considers Them But Also By Literature, By The Ghosts Of Past Poetries, By Our Personal Ghosts Toward The End Of The Sequence, One Poem Asks Simply, Which Species On Earth Is Saddest A Question This Book Seems Poised To Answer But Chiasson Is Not Finally Defeated By The Sorrows And Disappointments That Maturity Brings Combining A Classic, Often Heartbreaking Musical Line With A Playful, Fresh Attack On The Standard Materials Of Poetry, He Makes Even Our Sadness Beguiling And Beautiful From The Hardcover Edition. I m glad, five years later, I revisited this poetry, and I m unsurprised to find a mature and slyly humorous collection no wonder it went over my head the first time around, a time when I was mostly stuffing my face with junk food poetics I am amazed at the cohabitation in these poems of irreverence and solemnity I am also amazed at Chiasson s ability to inhabit ancient voices and crafti The book makes it boldest, most poignant statement in the 5 page Scared by the Smallest Shriek of a Pig, and When Wounded, Always Give Ground that ends the collection Everything there comes together in a way that it doesn t seem to elsewhere, making the poem Considering how much Roman poetry makes an appearance in this book, it s probably not a huge stretch to say that Chiasson s voice reminds me a lot of Horace But I say this in that good way, where Horace takes the common and everyd Natural History is a delight of a poem, and Poem beginning with a line from Frost is such a beautiful cascadeI was suprised Very pleasantly surpised Rescue a copy from a bargain bin when you next come across it. dan chiasson does things that i could never do in ways that make language exciting i like that his language is straightforward but his images and allusions are dark mirrorways into things you might not see otherwise. I liked how self referential these poems were Chiasson s references to himself were both touching and cheeky They drew clearly on an individual s set of influences, and I enjoy tracing a poet s preoccupations. want to love it, don t love it.but it does many things that i want it to do it just never lifts off

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