From Publishers Weekly
This book's uncannily timely title conceals "An Unusual Optimism," "Reverent Estimations," "A Soldier's Uniform" and 36 other mostly stanza-less free-verse firearms and colors. Not to be confused with the poet, critic and Library of America editor without the "G.," O'Brien made the cover of the American Poetry Review last year, but here hides his visage and shows us "the thinking loins, a catenation merging with the outline of the body first light against the hurt side of the city," until, finally, "the French came, and they killed us. ...They killed us and kept killing us until we spread out some legacy in a red-and-white feuilleton of snow."
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Writing in the meditative-aestheticist tradition of Stevens, Ashbery, and the Language poets, O'Brien presents lyrics of incomparable nuance and density in his first book. His poems amount to an artistic counteroffensive against the deadening effects of work ("the road down the middle of you") and politics ("the nation blowing in wind vexed by a flag"). In place of these distractions, O'Brien meditates on transitional moments, especially in the weather and atmosphere, where "all objects are about to be replaced." In O'Brien's richly textured world, creation and de-creation occur simultaneously. For example, in the moments of twilight following sunset, "A is everything and B is everything leaving." Similarly, "the snow was the future perfect of snow." O'Brien's poetry is demanding but rewarding, transporting the reader to "the country the city used to be." Highly recommended for all larger collections. Daniel L. Guillory, Millikin Univ., Decatur, IL
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.