*Starred Review* Trust Rich, a clarion poet of conscience, to get the fractured timbre of the times just right in a collection of vigorous lyric poems about the first four years of the twenty-first century, a period of terror, war, corporate imperialism, outrageous lies, and miasmal inarticulateness. A moment in history, Rich avers, in arresting imagery and flinty syntax, in which language has been processed into banality just like so much of the American landscape. Forthright, precise, witty, and keenly attuned to complacency, reluctance, and fear, Rich fights back with exhilaratingly choreographed poems about inane, high-pitched public cell-phone conversations, television's numbing soundtrack, the crude oversimplification and commercialization of public discourse, and the "viral / spread of social impotence producing social silence." Rich also writes piercingly, and inevitably, of war, most poignantly in the powerful title poem, in which a courageous teacher in a besieged city tells his students, "Don't let your faces turn to stone / Don't stop asking me why." Similarly, Rich tells readers not to give up hope and not to remain silent, because truth flows unabated behind the facade of spin and babble, and it will prevail. Donna Seaman
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One of a handful of major American poets whose every new work is a cause for excitement
stunning. -- Library Journal
This is Rich's best work in years. Demonstrates why Rich is considered a major poet. -- Christian Science Monitor
This kind of writing is hard work but we are fortunate to have Rich in the trenches. -- Sarah Goodyear, Time Out New York
Whether lamenting modern culture or the war on terror, Rich remains a poet of impeccable principle and unwavering conscience. -- San Francisco Weekly