Gig Ryan: New and Selected Poems

James Harms

James Harms

James Harms is the author of eight books of poetry, including What to Borrow, What to Steal (2011), and Comet Scar

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Tonic and rebuke

James Harms

 

New and Selected Poems
by Gig Ryan
Giramondo, $26.95 pb, 224 pp, 9781920882662

 

Gig Ryan is something of a postmodern classicist, deftly balancing John Ashbery’s slippery indeterminacy and Anne Carson’s lyric innovation. She is also a complete original. It is difficult to think of another poet who has more consistently and resolutely fashioned beauty from flat, broken English. Book after book, Ryan has given herself the demanding task of working without the net of conventional syntax and sentence structure while refusing to eschew meaning. In other words, she wants it both ways: the political resistance of denatured language and the stinging precision of socially engaged satire. How she manages to achieve both is the story of this book.

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