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Complaint in the Garden (Kenyon Review Prize in Poetry Series)

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From poolside to seaside, barroom to classroom, sex club to colonial Florida, Randall Mann's curiosity endeavors to discover, often ironically, the beauty of things in the world around him. These meditations--harsh, honest, explicit (though never vulgar), dark, and astute--reflect a sentiment for the urbane and the primitive in nature, history, love, and humankind. Mann in From poolside to seaside, barroom to classroom, sex club to colonial Florida, Randall Mann's curiosity endeavors to discover, often ironically, the beauty of things in the world around him. These meditations--harsh, honest, explicit (though never vulgar), dark, and astute--reflect a sentiment for the urbane and the primitive in nature, history, love, and humankind. Mann invites readers into lush landscapes, sundry histories, and a contemporary gay San Francisco populated by those things and people loved and lost.


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From poolside to seaside, barroom to classroom, sex club to colonial Florida, Randall Mann's curiosity endeavors to discover, often ironically, the beauty of things in the world around him. These meditations--harsh, honest, explicit (though never vulgar), dark, and astute--reflect a sentiment for the urbane and the primitive in nature, history, love, and humankind. Mann in From poolside to seaside, barroom to classroom, sex club to colonial Florida, Randall Mann's curiosity endeavors to discover, often ironically, the beauty of things in the world around him. These meditations--harsh, honest, explicit (though never vulgar), dark, and astute--reflect a sentiment for the urbane and the primitive in nature, history, love, and humankind. Mann invites readers into lush landscapes, sundry histories, and a contemporary gay San Francisco populated by those things and people loved and lost.

30 review for Complaint in the Garden (Kenyon Review Prize in Poetry Series)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Fondakowski

    Mann has a new book coming out soon and I have followed his work since this first volume, so I decided to read them all again from the beginning. In each book, Mann tells a story about the life he sees and lives. But the books, taken together, build an even bigger picture. I know that all poets' consecutive volumes build, but Mann's has characters and types that reappear over time; he gives snapshots and glimpses into the landscape and age changing so fast around them; and that they're queer onl Mann has a new book coming out soon and I have followed his work since this first volume, so I decided to read them all again from the beginning. In each book, Mann tells a story about the life he sees and lives. But the books, taken together, build an even bigger picture. I know that all poets' consecutive volumes build, but Mann's has characters and types that reappear over time; he gives snapshots and glimpses into the landscape and age changing so fast around them; and that they're queer only adds to the drama of a place where space for queers was once plentiful and is disappearing, just like, it seems, the queers are. His work is also just fun. Yes it's filled with tragedy and beauty and suffering, but Mann's got incredible comedic timing and that, coupled with his command of form and rhyme, well, trust me: you'll laugh more than once. And who doesn't need that right now, and always? A favorite poem from Complaint is Postscriptum. I, too have a bit of a thing for Dante.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Murphy

    Pastoral, formal, and wildly contemporary all at the same time. I especially appreciate the allusion, and in particular the Baudelaire poem. Some of my favorite moments: “This queen is ruining my favorite song.” “A pond the color of oriental teas.” “The wind instructs the rain to soak chapeaus.” “Despite wet grass, I saw a farmer heal his field with fire.” “Outside, the rain like luck licked our filthy windows clean.”

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Elegant, sophisticated, but frequently with less going on than I could hope. Mann leans forward on a long stem; there are a few surprise lilies, and a few duds. The linguistic awareness never upsets the syntactical angels; they're all setting the table at which we never finally feast. Donald Justice-gentility and Thom Gunn-candor are the twin toasts, but never Yvor Winters-animism. One can admire the achievement and still wish the talk was brighter. Elegant, sophisticated, but frequently with less going on than I could hope. Mann leans forward on a long stem; there are a few surprise lilies, and a few duds. The linguistic awareness never upsets the syntactical angels; they're all setting the table at which we never finally feast. Donald Justice-gentility and Thom Gunn-candor are the twin toasts, but never Yvor Winters-animism. One can admire the achievement and still wish the talk was brighter.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brent Calderwood

    Lovely, lilting poems, especially recommended for lovers of New Formalism. Some of Mann's nonce forms in particular, one using anagram pairs as endwords, are just splendid. Lovely, lilting poems, especially recommended for lovers of New Formalism. Some of Mann's nonce forms in particular, one using anagram pairs as endwords, are just splendid.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jenni

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Barber

  7. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hello

  9. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jackson

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ron Mohring

  12. 4 out of 5

    Larry Kaplun

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rambling Reader

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Mills

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andy Quan

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matt Dean

  19. 4 out of 5

    P.C.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  21. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

  25. 5 out of 5

    G O Kolombatovich

  26. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Siegel

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

  28. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Hittinger

  29. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Mertens

  30. 4 out of 5

    James

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