On Malice, Ken Babstock


This is not a book for Bookstravaganza. (Maybe you’re right, Dorothy–we shouldn’t allow poetry books.) I felt dumb the entire time I read this book. There was too much going on in each set of poems, and I haven’t read most of the source texts for them. In each set, Ken Babstock sources vocabulary or language from essays by Benjamin or Hazlitt or Donne. And he’s doing complicated work with structure and form that I am just unfamiliar with.

In some ways, I was still able to appreciate Babstock’s language and lyricism. Do I doubt this is a brilliant book of poetry? No, but I wish it had more access points. Or that I had time to become familiar with the ones I was given.

Books read: 11


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