From Publishers Weekly
The most apt comparison for Lauterbach's career is to that of Jorie Graham: the two MacArthur fellows are near contemporaries; use free verse and open field composition to tackle the philosophical implications of travel, art and relationships from a post-feminist perspective; and are influenced by and in dialogue with John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Susan Howe, Michael Palmer and other poets one often finds, cheek-by-jowl, in Conjunctions. Yet though Lauterbach examines her materials and methods much more closely, her subjects and perspectives are thornier, and she has not garnered major critical attention outside of the academy. This book should change that, as readers gain easier entr?e to her five books and to an eponymous set of 19 new poems, organized counter-chronologically. Beginning at the end of the book with 1979's Many Times, But Then readers will find Lauterbach trying out Schuyler's discursive simplicity and Ashbery's early virtuosity, which form the basis of Before Recollection (1987), and are subsequently stretched out, recombined and brilliantly reimagined for the trio of Penguin books from the '90s: Clamor (1991), And For Example (1994) and On a Stair (1997), the last containing a brutal "Valentine for Tomorrow": "Light in the window (a quotation)/ is how we notice/ discrepancy hello, hello, I forget incendiary fuel/ tearing the roof off the house, rats from dream/ acquiescent cloth draped over the little town's vocabulary." New poems include an intentionally didactic "Diorama of the Uninhabited Yes," definitionally sweeping "New Brooms" and a mock "Splendor" in which "atavistic goons clash/ at the edge of the park" and leave us cheering ourselves on: "Rah! Rah!/ as the struts of tomorrow fall to the ground/ as tears arrive from afar in new boxes." Lauterbach's unsparing investigations blink through the contents of those boxes with remarkable force; fans of Graham, Seidel, Carson and Palmer should take note. (Apr.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Reading Lauterbach is like trying to keep up with someone whose legs are much longer and who walks with a compulsive urgency. The reader must simply forge ahead and trust that all will become clear as the poet talks into the wind, and bits and pieces drift back onto the page. Odd juxtapositions transpire as Lauterbach mixes the testimony of the senses with philosophical musings and dreamlike scenarios. Her poems are high-strung, intermittently beautiful, shrewd, melancholy, mysterious, and charged by the need to communicate and the refusal to simplify. This cerebral yet poignant collection gathers 25 years' worth of Lauterbach's puzzlelike commentary on the frisson between experience and thought and the stubborn pursuit of the elusive truth about the human condition. Over the years, Lauterbach's poems have grown warmer and more welcoming, until, in her newest work, she leans close to the reader, makes eye contact, and even slows down now and then, eager to share each glimpse into each pressing moment. Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved