Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Ever the imagination's paleontologist, Goldbarth (Beyond: Poems) continues to unearth the infinitely odd, amazing bits of historical fact and fiction that argue for irony and coincidence as primary laws of nature. Thick and sometimes unkempt with the excitement of telling ("the pulse in the body that wants more/ than its single human lifetime"), his poems teem like drops of pond water viewed under a microscope: movement everywhere, almost too much to assimilate, and yet "there are continuums/ connecting the most striking pairs of opposites." So multilayered and varied is the poet's apprehension of life that the ceaseless acquisition of knowledge only serves to deepen its mystery. No wonder Goldbarth's favorite subjects are alchemists, the likes of Houdini and Barnum ("a sterling example of willed bizarritude"), and the early astronomers, whose cosmic theories repeatedly overturned the basic assumptions of their times. Generously intelligent, Goldbarth's own "zestily done humbuggeries" remind us that reading is no less an act of discovery and creative preservation than writing. Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Author notes provided by Syndetics
Born in Chicago and educated at the University of Illinois and University of Iowa, Goldbarth has taught at various schools, including the University of Texas. Prolific and wide-ranging in content, Goldbarth writes against the grain of much contemporary poetry, which aims to strip language to its barest essentials. His verse, by contrast, is baroque, florid, even---as his critics would have it---cluttered. The effect of his virtuoso verbal performance is to suggest how intensely is the human need for explanation and connection with the vast storehouse of culture within which we live. In his recent works, Goldbarth has pursued his theory that life is a Moebius strip, continually repeating itself, with no discernible beginning or end. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)