Dear Prudence: New and Selected Poems

This volume of selected poems, David Trinidad's twelfth collection, spans three decades of work. D.A. Powell notes that this is a volume "celebratory in tone, panoramic in scope," and indeed, the poems in this collection range from focusing on the tragedy of AIDS to the variation of shades of Yardley lipsticks.

The book begins with "Black Telephone," a generous selection of forty new poems. Trinidad's scholarly research on Sylvia Plath factors into much of the new work (the "black telephone" is itself the infamous object present during the breakup of Plath and Ted Hughes) resulting in poems such as "From Ted Hughes' List of Writing Exercises for Sylvia Plath" and "Underlined in Sylvia Plath's Copy of Tender is the Night."

Trinidad's poems are almost always autobiographical, but personal experience is routinely projected through the lens of popular culture and kitsch.The result is new life breathed into familiar relics such as Barbie dolls, cake mixes, and 1960s television program synopses.

Dear Prudence notably includes Trindad's 2005 magnum opus "Poem Under the Influence," as well as smaller projects like Tiny Moon Notebook, a series which was previously published in limited edition. At nearly five hundred pages, Trinidad's formal dexterity and engaging candor makes for a uniquely full reading experience.

This book review originally appeared in American Poets, fall 2011, issue 41.