Birds of the Air

David Yezzi (Author)

Product Details

Carnegie-Mellon University Press
Publish Date
February 12, 2013
5.4 X 0.3 X 8.3 inches | 0.25 pounds
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About the Author

DAVID YEZZI'S books of poems include The Hidden Model (2003); Azores (2008), a Slate magazine best book of the year; and Birds of the Air, forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Poetry (2006, 2012), The Paris Review Book, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Poetry Speaks Who I Am, Bright Wings, and elsewhere. He is editor of The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets (foreword by J. D. McClatchy) and executive editor of The New Criterion. He lives in New York City.


Starred Review-Sad and serious, attentive to meter and balance yet no slave to form, the dramatic monologues, rough laments, strict rhymes and accomplished syllabics in this third volume from Yezzi (Azores) go far beyond expectations: it should impress not just those who follow "formal" poetry generally, but almost anyone who has an abiding love for the poetry of Robert Frost. Executive editor of the New Criterion, Yezzi draws carefully on the non- and pre-modernist past: what he adds is, sometimes, a caustic sadness peculiar to his generation, a sense of nothing left, as in a poem on an old photograph: "The scribble across/ the back, your name--/ if more was meant, / it never came." Failed romance, disconsolate Eros, provides a ground note for a volume that also observes urban privilege and the urban poor, though it keeps coming back to the poet's own Larkinesque, or perhaps Frostian, failures: "We are as useless as an open lock, / more insubstantial than a drinking song." Yet Yezzi's greatest ambition arrives instead in dramatic and narrative verse, especially in the four-part, two-voice, 16-page "Tomorrow & Tomorrow," in which a 20-something writer and actor loses his girlfriend while touring Europe in Macbeth: "Of course, there's things that won't let you forget/ how what you wanted is what hurt you most, / how it was happiness itself betrayed you."-- "Publishers Weekly" (12/24/2012 12:00:00 AM)
Vivid language amplified by ass-kicking sonic effects. Also, an exceptionally versatile range: lyric, dramatic, discursive, gnomic, dense, lucid. Moving and melodic poems, but with a satisfying acid edge.--Joshua Mehigan "Poetry Magazine" (2/1/2012 12:00:00 AM)