Between the Chains

Series: Phoenix Poets
With my eyes closed, I might have guessed a collaboration between William Empson and Noel Coward, J. D. McClatchy has said of Turner Cassity's poems. Cassity's new collection turns an icy needle-spray on topics as diverse as a Polynesian firedance, Johannes Brahms, and the Banque de l'Indo-Chine. Breaking a pact with himself, Cassity has written two poems about the South, which, the poet claims, are unlikely to cause professional Southerners anything except discomfort. Turner Cassity's excellent work is like no one else's. It is funny, at times perverse, and wickedly serious. In this present collection, such poems as 'When in Doubt, Remain in Doubt, ' 'Acid Rain on Sherwood Forest, ' and 'How Jazz Came up the Elbe' show one of our finest poets at the top of his game. Timothy Steele Cassity thinks on his feet, agile and fierce funny too. Thom Gunn At a time when most poems seem a commodity, quickly written, quickly read and easily thrown away, Turner Cassity's poems seem even more astonishing examples of good writing and reading, exceptions to be admired and kept. Edgar Bowers