Versed (Wesleyan Poetry)
by Rae Armantrout
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Rae Armantrout is the most philosophical sort of poet, continually seeking in her collections to summon and surmise the contemporary character of subjective experience and, further, to test the limits of knowledge. Yet these meditations are often counterintuitive and sometimes downright absurd in their complexion, referencing cartoon characters (Wile E. Coyote and Rainbow Frog), miming the standardized phrases of tabloid headlines and business transactions (“These temporary credits / will no longer be reflected / in your next billing period”), and rehearsing bits of dialogue rooted only in the vapid grammars of cultural cliché (“I think our incentives / are sexy and edgy”).
With such seeming self-contradiction, Armantrout is a special case even to the extent that she willingly turns a critical eye on her own poems,
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