by Crystal, March 17, 2008 12:15 PM
To write a single poem about grief and loss without slipping into sentimentality or self-pity is a rare achievement. To write a book of poems that not only avoids these pitfalls but demonstrates a brave loyalty to the truth is Mary Jo Bang's Elegy. Exploring the expectations and limits inherent in the form, Bang is able to write, with amazing insight, about the nature of memory, language, and love, and all that they can and cannot achieve. It's no surprise that Elegy was the winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award; it's a work that commands immense respect and admiration.