Odes to Tools review round-up

Three weeks ago I blogged about a great review of Odes to Tools at Verse Wisconsin Online, but I’ve failed to make note of any of the other reviews and mentions the book has received over the past nine months. I started counting them up today, with the help of Google, and rediscovered a couple I’d completely forgotten about, so I think it’s high time I attempt a round-up.

  • My friend Todd Davis, author most recently of The Least of These, supplied a blurb after publication — which makes it almost like a review, right? — to help us promote the book. Read it here.
  • The first true review, on February 6, was from Dale Favier at mole. Dale is one of my oldest friends in the blogosphere, so this meant a lot. And I loved what he had to say: “How can you get lost, in a thirty page book? But I did. All these poems have edges, teeth. It’s a brilliant collection.” Read the rest.
  • The second review, in March, was from John Miedema, author of Slow Reading. I am all about reaching non-poets, so I was tickled to be reviewed by someone who loves reading and tools in equal measure, on a blog with a readership of librarians and geeks. John’s was a very bloggy review, meaning that he related it to his own experience, and he drew a design lesson about single-purpose versus multi-purpose tools that helped me see the book in a new light. Here’s his review.
  • A couple days later, poet and novelist James Brush published an equally bloggy and generous response at Coyote Mercury. The book led him to “imagine a world in which we didn’t throw things out the moment they broke.” Here’s what he wrote.
  • Also in March, the obviously very discriminating Daily s-Press, a blog about small press publications, took note.
  • In June, Verse Daily published a poem from the collection, “Ode to a Wire Brush.” I don’t know anyone there, so that definitely comes under the “kindness of strangers” heading. As a bonus, I got a chuckle out of their typo in the original title (subsequently corrected): “Odd to a Wire Brush.”
  • In July, poet and blogger Sherry Chandler compared me favorably with Emerson, and called my work “quiet and grounded.” It took days for my head to return to normal size. Here’s her review.
  • As mentioned previously, I didn’t know the reviewer at Verse Wisconsin Online from Adam’s off ox, and was impressed by the perceptiveness of his criticisms. I was also pleased with the venue. Judging by how many Wisconsin poets have made the cut at qarrtsiluni over the past five years, it’s a great place for poetry.
  • Most recently, my friend Rachel Barenblat, guest-blogging this week at The Best American Poetry, devoted a post to a review of the Odes. “What makes these poems work,” Rachel writes, “is their juxtaposition of mundane objects with breathtaking leaps of imagery.” Well, gosh. “Breathtaking” seems a little over-the-top, but who am I to argue with a soon-to-be-ordained rabbi?

Thanks to everyone who’s reviewed or linked to the book so far, and if I’ve left anyone off the list, please let me know. This is a really gratifying number of reviews and mentions, especially for a poetry chapbook. Hundreds of equally deserving chapbooks are published each year to far less notice. But probably their authors don’t blog, or if they do, aren’t active participants in blogging communities.

3 Replies to “Odes to Tools review round-up”

  1. Dave, it’s heartening to see so many people rhapsodising about Odes to Tools. You’re a modest man and you work away so diligently in the service of poetry and poets on Via Negativa (not to mention that you’re an all-round ‘good egg’) that it’s a heart-warming pleasure to see you honoured in this way. Much, much deserved. I hope the warmth from all the praise keeps you nicely glowing as the Winter begins to nip at Plummer’s Hollow. Enjoy the moment. All Hail King Dave!

    1. I’m not that good an egg; I just embarrass easily! Like right now, for example. I mean, thanks, but geez.

      I guess most of these links would be news to you since you’re not on Facebook, one of the few redeeming virtues of which is that it serves as a convenient venue for the kind of bragging that would strike me as unseemly if I did it here.

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