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Vertebrae Rosaries: 50 Sonnets Paperback – January 1, 2009
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Paperback, January 1, 2009
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I remember, thirtysome years ago, when Dacey first published a couple of poems in traditional forms, thinking, Phil, Phil, what are you doing? That s how out of fashion the old forms had fallen. Before long, he had co-edited with David Jauss Strong Measures: Contemporary American Poetry in Traditional Forms, which has proven one of the most popular and influential anthologies of the past three decades. And I can think of no living American poet who has mastered more forms from free verse to blank verse, from couplets to sonnets and beyond than Philip Dacey. --Barton Sutter
About the Author
For thirty-five years a resident of Minnesota and English professor at Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall, Philip Dacey moved in December, 2004, to Manhattan's Upper West Side.
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FIRST, I'd say the book is half form. Dacey's version of the sonnet form in this volume can be a bit puzzling at times. Some poems follow the letter of the form. Others seem to be fourteen lines with some slant rhyme, and a turn somewhere around the octave.
Unless you are a persnickity purist, though, his bending of the form won't matter to you. Nearly all of these are joyful little poems--accessible on a first read, but substantive enough to pull you back in. In fact, much of his work can be described with these lines from the poem "Postcard Sonnet: The Wall."
I'm in an excavation like a big crater
some bomb made that was so smart it loved geo-
SECOND, I have to tell you that the book is half sex. To be blunt, almost the entire second half of this collection consists of wonderful, little, make-you-blush sex poems. From "Leg" (Driving at night, I reached across for the knee/ your skirt failed to cover...) to "Badlands Love" (Dakota ghosts know what's bad is the sweetest good.) to "Georgic Fellatio" (which I'm not even going to quote here, but oh my).
This is a wonderful little book. Well worth the purchase, especially if you like to read poetry to your significant other.