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Reviews

"chemical reaction reset to the rhythm of human perception. The resulting gaps open the poem to a meaningful range of pauses, hesitations, delays, sonic mutations, reconsiderations...There is so much seeing in its listening." Elizabeth Willis, Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award Judge

"metamorphosis, resonance, transformation, the alchemy of art. Bachmann is able-by a few simple, direct gestures...to connect her personal grief and tragedy to the whole tradition of English (and Western) verse and to the poetic impulse itself to make beauty out of sorrow." A.E. Stallings, Poetry

"a violent, eroticized version of heaven... it is elegy itself-part lamentation, part consolation-whose mouth is bloodied" Shara Lessley, West Branch

"formidable...mind-boggling...absolutely tonic...when George Herbert wrote about temper he meant that process by which metals are beaten and burned and subjected to dire extremity so as to gain their supple resilience and serviceable strength. That is the work these poems do." Linda Gregerson, Kate Tufts Award judge

"elegy is tested in these immaculate lyrics that derive their power not from nostalgic portraits of the lost beloved, nor of innocence lost, but rather from a language of fact and unflinching gaze trained on ruin... If, in the 20th century, the elegy was, in the words of Yeats, an act of reconciling "this life, this death," Bachmann's elegies pick up where that task leaves off... the question at stake in this work is what, exactly, are the limits of the human animal." Beth Marzoni, Poet Lore

"boundaries of blood, love, belief, and brutality blur...The grief in Temper is raw, relentless, and unadorned." Lisa Russ Spaar, On the Seawall

"eerily calm and anything but bloodless. Tough and impressive." Dorine Jennette, The Georgia Review

"Bachmann's poems grabbed me because of their violence-was I just looking for it?-but it was a violence which was often implied, a sense of foreboding, a mood often just beneath the surface, rather than Wertmuller's horrifying image of a family of ten being gunned down in a mass grave. And it's not that I don't like Wertmuller's films-I do. I guess this particular evening I just wanted the striptease, not the naked body; the faint hint of heat, not the bottle of Tabasco." D.A. Powell @ harriet the poetry foundation blog

"Reading Beth Bachmann's poems is a little like having sex in a graveyard. In one sense, there is no location where having sex could be more wrong...But I can't think of any other act that might honor death more than one which allows you to forget about it completely. Her language has this kind of oppositional tension, respecting movement and the stillness that comes before and after." Sommer Browning, Multifarious Array

"Is "beauty" what one thinks of when one thinks of a weapon?" Charles Rammelkamp, Heavy Bear

"quirky, fresh, linguistically flippant, syntactically idiosyncratic, and emotionally uncompromising." James Hoch, Black Warrior Review

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