Wild Civility (Hardcover)
University of Washington Press, 9780295983516, 80pp.
Publication Date: October 1, 2003
David Biespiel's long poetic lines crackle with rhythmic energy and a jazzy, bittersweet richness of language. Rolling out across the page like darkly luminous highways, his innovative, nine-line "American sonnets" promise adventure, offering a variant on the sonnet form that is both lyric and dramatic and bringing his masterful formal inventiveness to free verse. "I've come to imagine the nine-line sonnet to be like one of those classic Thunderbirds," says Biespiel, "something distinctly American: wide, roomy, and with a robust engine."
The vastly varied voices within the poems are united by a wonderfully limber diction. Using with revelatory precision the vocabularies of history, science, art, sport, philosophy, religion, literature, government, and domestic life, Biespiel has crafted a hip, melodic, elastic language that travels the registers of expression: lush and coarse, gaudy and austere, pliant and rigidly tough. The civility of the poems is the form; the wildness is the bristling energy of the language.
Passionate, resilient, rich with wit and word play, these poems affirm David Biespiel's increasing stature as a poet of remarkable accomplishment and promise.