As if they were a crowd of pilgrims/singing in the rain.../their music rises from an earth/that will not stay in tune. So F.D. Reeve writes in a poem entitled Violets in a Pewter Vase. For nearly fifty years, he has found in nature both a refuge from human imperfection and an exquisite rejoinder to it. Whether that imperfection be the war in Afghanistan, worsening economic inequality, or even the ridiculous pretense of a thoroughly professionalized poetry, Reeve makes of aesthetic perception a kind of subjunctive faith. For a moment one man's skill offers the possibility of redemption, and the alternatives behind experience bloom like those fragile violets in a pewter vase. With its elegant short lyrics and long dramatic poem, which reworks the Daedalus-Icarus myth by situating it on a Caribbean island and which serves as the text for a jazz opera, The Puzzle Master breaks new ground in the music of holistic response. In this his tenth collection, the winner of the Golden Rose Award for lifetime achievement in poetry offers a poetry adequate to our time.
Born in Philadelphia but brought up outside New York City, a devoted pupil of the poet-critic R.P. Blackmur, and now himself a poet-critic retired from Wesleyan University and living in Vermont, F. D. (Frank) Reeve has long been regarded--to quote Robert Giroux--as "one of America's most gifted and individual poets." He first visited Russia as an exchange scholar with the Academy of Sciences the year before his famous trip with Robert Frost. Recently, he has made his sassy alter ego, the Blue Cat, an outspoken prowler for justice. Reeve's numerous translations from Russian were honored in 2007
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PUZZLE MASTER & OTHER POEMS