Delights & Shadows

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  1. Guest Review: Delights & Shadows by Ted Kooser
  2. Reward Yourself
  3. Join Kobo & start eReading today

David Means. The Girls of Peculiar. Catherine Pierce.

Guest Review: Delights & Shadows by Ted Kooser

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Delights and Shadows includes many of these museum visits, reports of paintings that are as vibrant as Mary Cassatt's box of pastels, so vivid and precise as to step inside the paintings themselves. Kooser's knack for poems on painting comes full circle in a delicate series of poems called "Four Civil War Paintings by Winslow Homer," poems that occasionally indulge in the irresistible temptation to write poems about writing poems. For the most part, the poems in Delights and Shadows are short, tightly wrapped things, as though gushing towards a final reflection from the poem's very first word.

Such weight is placed on these concluding observations in which Kooser wraps so many poems that they occasionally buckle under the pressure and risk mawkishness.

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An element of believability is lost in these otherwise persuasive poems when Kooser fuses his final lines with so much of the poem's burden. Like most omniscient narrators, the one reporting on the lives of the people and places in these poems imposes on the subject at times: suggestions that an older man whose flabby arm exposes the faded tattoo of former lives has "a heart gone soft and blue with stories," for instance, or "all the shuffling magazines" that "grow still" because the speaker commands "Grace" to fill "the clean mold of this moment" at the cancer clinic.

Yet this understated style manages to overpower any tendency toward the melodramatic or his adoration of such poeticized words as "shadow" and "dust. Like Denise Levertov or Nazim Hikmet, there is often a playful sense of wonder at the human experience that sets these poems apart from the more self-conscious work produced by many of his contemporaries. Even more significant than Kooser's overexposed talent for rending the miraculous from the mundane is this success at considering something larger than the self or its immediate experiences.

About the Author. Hometown: Garland, Nebraska. Date of Birth: Place of Birth: Ames, Iowa. Education: B. Table of Contents I. Show More. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. A Book of Common Praise. Miniature critical essays on contemporary poets and fiction writers. Originally written as introductions to public Originally written as introductions to public readings, these essays are unabashedly celebratory, a welcome relief from the usual critical fare.

As a critic, Boyers has been praised by such literary giants