Synopses & Reviews
Selected for the 2006 National Poetry Series by August Kleinzahler
William Stobb?s poems attend calmly to a dynamic world. Nature, family, and friends are among the shifting systems where Stobb finds poems. His fluency in a variety of forms?from the measured tenderness of Jay Meek to the oceanic surrealism of Donald Revell?enacts the tension between order and entropy in the physical world we live in. ?Stobb has nerve, talent, and engages this madly accelerating, and often nearly indecipherable, world in what?s called real time,? writes August Kleinzahler, ?and he manages it without sacrificing emotional truth.?
"'Stobb's well-titled debut begins smart and ends tender: it starts with crisply layered bits of scenes, many from the rural or industrial Midwest, then moves through sometimes melancholy, sometimes delighted reflections on the poet's young daughter and on his anxious middle age. Landscapes compel in Stobb's writing whether their components, encountered in real life, would delight or appall. Here is an inventively stereoscopic view of a gravelly rural trail, with 'Twelve thousand version of twelve dozen ivy blossoms/ in the compound eye'; there are rusted-out 'northern resorts/ where men in fishnet hats drink coffee.' Filmic quick cuts (and metaphors from film and music) suggest the techniques of August Kleinzahler (who selected the book for the National Poetry Series); luminous descriptions call to mind the early Robert Hass. Yet Stobb turns his attention ultimately from things back to the people who live amid them. Midway through the volume, we find Stobb 'hoping our nostalgia and middle-aged foreboding/ would give way to an elegance that had always been east of us.' Stobb's best poems at the start and the end of the volume include not only observation and tenderness but jazzy dissonance: 'I don't know my mangles// from my obtuse angles.... These are words for things.' (June)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
William Stobb is a professor of English at Viterbo University. A winner of the Nevada Arts Council Poetry Fellowship for 2000, his poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, and MiPOesias.