Tuesday, July 03, 2012

News at Eleven: [Robert] Pinsky has documented his love of jazz

and the saxophone in many of his poems and essays, and his best poems often feel--however carefully planned--like the most exquisitely timed solos. The statement of a theme, followed by a variation; the theme repeated, a fourth higher; then another variation, interwoven with and yet branching off from the underlying pattern; the melody veering into the near stratosphere before pulling back again as the riff returns; a flurry of notes, unexpected and yet seemingly inevitable, signaling the solo's end. Throughout "Impossible to Tell," from The Figured Wheel, the title phrase is used in much the same way a composer would use a primary theme:

from The Nation: Impossible to Tell: On Robert Pinsky


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