Pity the Beautiful

In his first poetry collection in over a decade, Dana Gioia presents the well-crafted poems for which he has long been known. In poems that, as David St. John notes, reveal his "narrative ease and naturalness of diction," Gioia employs traditional form expertly. Taking on subjects such as lost love, solitude, family, and the natural world, Gioia proves himself to be, as St. John writes, "partly an old-fashioned storyteller and partly a metaphysical poet of reflection and devotion." From "Prophecy":

O Lord of indirection and ellipses,
ignore our prayers. Deliver us from distraction.
Slow our heartbeat to a cricket's call.

In the green torpor of the afternoon,
bless us with ennui and quietude.
And grant us only what we fear, so that

Underneath the murmur of the wasp
we hear the dry grass bending in the wind
and the spider's silken whisper from its web.

This book review originally appeared in American Poets.