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Reviews

Black Hole Singing

There are three basic types of complexity a reader encounters in contemporary poetry.  The first type arises when inexperienced poets have not yet developed sufficient intellectual and emotional depth to understand their subject matter or have not yet developed an adequate command of language.  The resulting product is muddled rather than deep.  The second is deliberate obfuscation, practiced today mainly by the New York School, the Surrealist movement, and the “concrete” and “language” poets.  Rather than creating meaningful complexity, these poets are playing intellectual games that have no serious bearing on our lives.

The third type arises from depth of intellect and feeling and a concomitant skill with language.  There will always be some readers who demand this type of complexity from poetry because they cannot be intellectually or emotionally stimulated or satisfied by less.  Whatever has depth is by its very nature complex.  It is this type of complexity that abounds in the poetry of Constance Rowell Mastores.  The complexities of A Deep but Dazzling Darkness revolve around the central theme of an intense, arduous, and unrelenting struggle for identity.  Mastores’ tenacious drive to discover ever more deeply her true self offers the reader new ways of viewing and interpreting how each of us is connected to the worlds inside and outside us.

The...

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