From Publishers Weekly
Houses, flowers, dogs, foxes, country music, families, poverty, love, anger and grief are only some of the subjects that this book fills out with closely observed details of day-to-day life. Evoking the landscape and struggles both of town and country in the Appalachian region, this collection includes poems from among Anderson's first three books, along with new work. Poems from Years That Answer focus on learning and growing up, before and after a father's death. Those from Cold Comfort expand that personal outlook to take in the history of the poet's family and the hard life of West Virginia mining towns, while the choices from A Space Filled with Moving contain more extended meditations, including what may be Anderson's finest poem, "Long Story," with its shocking final stanza. With an understated irony, as well as a broad compassion sometimes moved to anger, Anderson's poems reflect an intimate and loving knowledge of the world they evoke, and earn their frustrations honestly. Taken as a whole, however, the poems are largely limited to themes and emotional terrain handled more memorably in the work of other poets, and Anderson's cautious presentations often stall in overly mundane language. This is most apparent in the new poems, which are weighted toward the vicissitudes of academic and artistic life. While it may still be possible to write memorable verse about dogs, arts colonies and European vacations, the poems here lack originality and compelling insight. (Apr.)
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“Anderson's poems have a gentle feel but contain a deep intensity; they move slowly, quietly, and need to be absorbed over time. . . . There is an exploration here of the heart that is rare, desperately needed in today’s world, and universal to us all.”
--Lambda Book Report
“Maggie Anderson has been a poet of energy and wisdom, of conscience and courage, since her earliest work. In this new collection I am particularly impressed by the cropped force of poems like Knife, The Sleep Writer, and the Black Dog poems, which chillingly convey private and public worlds of terror and control. Caught between the oppositions of decorum and lawlessness, indolence and rigor, spiced by secrecy and appetite, Anderson is a poet who confronts loss and dread and, like the black dog, despite the grey fog, stands up.”
--Alicia Suskin Ostriker