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"Something of the energy, the savagery and emotional fierceness of Robert Lowell's early poems are to be found in this impressive book by Joshua Mehigan. These poems are often wound tight as spring, and are concentrations of violent feelings and visions of cruelty, yet uttered in a language quietly brilliant, as well as undeniably powerful."—Anthony Hecht
In Joshua Mehigans award-winning poems, one encounters a lucid, resolute vision driven by an amazing facility with the metrical line. Most of the poems in The Optimist unapologetically employ traditional poetic technique, and, in each of these, Mehigan stretches the fabric of living language over a framework of regular meter to produce a compelling sonic counterpoint. The Optimist stares at contemporary darkness visible, a darkly lit tableau that erases the boundary between the world and the perceiving self.
In choosing this book for the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, final judge James Cummins, wrote:
"Mehigan accesses a tradition of voices . . . to form with great integrity his own. It isnt that Mehigan is concerned more with whats outside himself than inside; nor merely that he travels the highway between the two with such humility and grace. Its also that these voices, this great tradition, infuse his line with what the best verse, metrical or free, must have: wonder." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Editorial Reviews
Mehigan is a young poet who is deeply talented and it shows with his first book. Mehigan has definitely learned his trade. These poems are well-crafted and tightly made. Read morePublished on July 30, 2009 by firstname.lastname@example.org
What a pleasant surprise to find new poetry that is carefully crafted, intelligent, and genuinely moving. If only more poets writing today took their craft as seriously. Read morePublished on November 5, 2007 by Rose Smith