My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I picked up Mark Strand because Misty said that he and Jimmy wrote similarly. Jimmy, it’s true. He can write very simple, very quiet, very understated poems. The themes like absence/presence and time are very clear and done very well. However, there’s one marked difference. Strand does not have a sense of humor. This guy is very very sad. His poems are constantly about ‘death’ or ‘nothing’ or ‘stillness.’ The poems seem to slow everything down. The stories are not really stories. Even when he’s talking about a character, the character feels like an object among other objects. You get the sense that something very heavy is resting on top of you. It’s a neat feeling, but it’s also exhausting. Since it’s the selected poems, I would recommend reading The Story of Our Lives and skipping The Late Hour. However, I do have to say that I finished this sucker in one day, so the last two sections really seemed to repeat what I’d already heard. I’ll have to go back and read them after I’ve taken a break from my dear sad friend.