Dustin Illingworth at Poetry Magazine:
For artists, middle age is freighted with aesthetic drama. For poets, it’s also often a period of formal metamorphoses. Midlife crisis is a term too loaded with risible associations to be useful here. The transformation seems more a matter of taking inventory, the poet alighting on a doubt or an intuition and having a good look around. Evolutions during this period are frequent and substantial: the seriocomic alibi of Brazil in Elizabeth Bishop’s Questions of Travel (1965), the plastic pharmacopoeia of Frederick Seidel’s Sunrise (1979), Les Murray’s confessional word machines in Subhuman Redneck Poems (1996), and Karen Solie’s eschewing of the hard-luck plains in The Caiplie Caves (2019). Each represents a significant departure written during the poet’s middle years. Here the provisional conclusions of the early work lie exhausted, and the delights and disappointments of a late style are as yet undisclosed. Such an interim invites its own risks and abdications. It is simultaneously a little death and a return to life.