Little Elegies for Sister Satan by Michael Palmer (New Directions)

Tears in the Fence

Michael Palmer has been widely lauded for his voluminous body of work.He may be considered a poet’s poet whose output exhibits a dynamic range, even within a single volume such as his latest collection,Little Elegies for Sister Satan.Palmer has defied categorization.The litany of adjectives that come to mind in describing this shape-shifter’s work might variably include cerebral, philosophical, allusive, and surreal.Some of his lines are sprinkled with religious references; politically charged observations about child soldiers are on hand, and even the odd scatological turn of phrase.Unusual, to say the least, is a book a poetry mentioning the Higgs boson in the same line as the Knave of Hearts.He also can be tongue-in-cheek, yet even several of his stray thoughts and lighter aphoristic poems showcase mastery.Palmer’s lines are typically populated by eye-widening turns of phrase delivered with musical sensibility.His use of rhythm and meter mimics that of a virtuosic…

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