"With his typical wry eroticism, an eagle eye for the places where men converge, and a compass that points always to desire, poet D. A. Powell leads us on a tour through a Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys, from gay bars to bathhouses and into the backwoods." —Vanity Fair, "Hot Type""Powell has a perfect ear. . . . [His] great subject is passion, in all its stages and manifestations: passion sought, spent, relived in the mind, played out in language." —Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker
"Taut, edgy, and erotic. . . . [Powell's] wit and brazen perspective make him a poet's poet." —The Washington Post
"In this, his fifth and most elegant and accessible book, [Powell] watches himself aging, his disease making off with his body, his energy and his hope--but not his humor: 'You face your wrinkles, daily, in the mirror. / But the wrinkles are so slimming, they rather flatter.' He entreats us, by book's end, to 'triumph over death with me.' It's an invitation--and a poet--you won't be able to resist." —National Public Radio, "Not Your Parents' Poems: A 2012 Poetry Preview"
"Don't be conused by the title: [Powell] writes rollicking poetry for adults." —Los Angeles Times
"D. A. Powell tautens his typically sassy-tongued yet emotionally involved writing in [Useless Landscape], which explores the bars, bathhouses, and backstage spaces where passion flares." —Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal, PrePub Alert
"Powell confronts physical and emotional environments in the kinds of translucent lyrics that have gained him critical appreciation and a reputation for accessibility. . . . Powell flexes his command of inflectional forms, using subjunctive constructions to pose some of the most wrenching, lovely unrealities since his initial triptych [Tea, Lunch, and Cocktails] and imperatives to exploit creeping, linguistic ambiguity." —Booklist"Combining his pleasure in puns and slang with more traditional language and structure (even sestinas and sonnets), Powell drifts over a landscape of central California flora, gay sex, 1970s funk, the physiology of aging, insect control and even high school marching bands. . . . [Useless Landscape is] a finely tuned collection from one of America's best contemporary poets." —Shelf Awareness
"The sonnet, that old form of poetry that Shakespeare made famous, is invigorated in D. A. Powell's new book . . . Powell navigates his way through [scenarios] that could easily become [caricatures], or that could be viewed as self-indulgent, and gives us instead what he always gives us: a portrait of unresolved complexity." —The Fine Print, New York Daily News
"[Useless Landscape is] a volume full of revealing self-conflict; it includes clarity and opacity, evasions and embraces, rhetorical flourishes and potty mouths . . . Powell has great stylistic range." —Los Angeles Review of Books