David Biespiel's energetic language, so varied and musical and precise, is quite unmatched by that of other contemporary poets. The Book of Men and Women is his second collection in the Pacific Northwest Poetry Series, and as always he is the master of the long line, his words strung across its reach as tightly as beads. But new poems in this book explore the intimacies of the shorter line as well and display Biespiel's formal inventiveness and emotional range.
The Book of Men and Women addresses our time and human condition in ways both domestic and global. The first section of the book is filled with the wonderful agitation of spell-making language. The poems are connected to the social and historical world, and yet at the same time, they prepare us for the mythic story about men and women that is promised in the book's title. The second section is more formally restrained and as such imbues the speaker with the distinction and melancholy gravitas that characterize the collection. We see this in the remarkable and fully imagined tour de force, "William Clark's Sonnets."
The book concludes with a series of autobiographical poems that confront the frailties of love and desire with unflinching intimacy and gratitude. These last poems, composed during an intense three-month period of writing, as well as the other poems in this remarkable volume, showcase Biespiel at the very top of his form.
David Biespiel is president and writer-in-residence at The Attic Writers' Workshop.
Evening Watch 1Genesis 12 Poet at Forty Though Your Sins Be Scarlet The Ex-Lovers Close Down the Hawthorne BoulevardBars on the 1000th Night of the WarEmbouchureKohain The Sleeping Beauty Dover Butch Citizen Dave Tale Bearer 2Mississippi God Damn Richard HugoOld Adam Outside the Wall of Eden Genesis 27 Overcast William Clark's Sonnets Ezra Pound Bad Marriages Luke's UkuleleP.O.E.M. Mass Man 3The Husband's TaleThe Wife's Tale The Wife's Tale (II) The CroonerPrudery Lust A Cloud of Crows Engine Man Little Crow Rag and Bone Man 4Man and Wife Bloom and Decay The Hummingbird Bathsheba Psalm 51 The Green Bed Banished Marvel Secret Ovid in Exile Dissolution in Winter O'Bryant Square The Theory of Hats Acknowledgments About the Poet A Note on the Type