Reviews - What do customers think about Field Knowledge?
Whispers of Carl Dennis and Richard Wilbur May 24, 2007
The poems in FIELD KNOWLEDGE exude a gentle dispassion and allude to (or actually name) classical figures, reminding one of Richard Wilbur's jewels of form. They also recall Carl Dennis' PRACTICAL GODS as the sublime and the mundane intertwine seductively.
Morri Creech creates disconcerting but radiant images as he tackles such topics as the feelings of Job and his wife post tribulation Book of, Mary Magdalene's encounter with the risen Jesus in the garden, Orpheus in the underworld, starvation as a martyr's instrument, and a jarring narrative duel between desire as virtue and sex crime. Every poem strikes a distinct tone, but all together reinforce each other as words, phrases, and images iterate in different contexts. The title poem literally concentrates on a history of a field and is suffused with earthy things such as sumac and "blackberries they swear will boil down to ambrosial jam," yet transports one into philosophical musings about the truth of this place. This is the crux of FIELD KNOWLEDGE: to offer variations on how we may see the world, how we may gain knowledge, and whether we can trust that knowledge we may think is solid.
In the penultimate poem, Creech pens, "More than the sounds that set the stones and trees in place, and that arrange both shade and light, a sad music ripens in the heart; caught between oblivion and paradise...."
This fragment of verse describes the etched poetry of FIELD KNOWLEDGE sublimely.
A Rare Achievement Nov 12, 2006
Sometimes one must search through a book of poems, wading through mediocre verses in order to find the few true poems among them. Such was not the case with Morri Creech's PAPER CATHEDRALS, a book that I found tremendously moving, and Creech's latest volume, FIELD KNOWLEDGE, is an even finer collection. In fact FIELD KNOWLEDGE is, quite simply, the finest new volume of poetry I've read in the past few years. In my opinion, Creech is the finest of the young American poets, those in the first decade of their careers. But there is nothing young or unpolished about his poems. Creech writes with such assurance, even virtuosity, that his poems have about them an air of great maturity and, that rarest of qualities, permanence. Nothing is ever universal in its appeal, yet Creech has managed to, on the one hand, impress some of America's finest free verse poets, Susan Ludvigson and Li-Young Lee among them, and, on the other, some of America's foremost formalists, like J.D. McClatchy and William Logan. Anyone who follows contemporary American poetry knows that this kind of "crossover" appeal is a rare achievement, and it a tribute to both Creech's abilities and his sensabilities. Hart Crane once said, "It may not be possible to say that there is, strictly speaking, any "absolute" experience. But it seems evident that certain aesthetic experience can be called absolute, inasmuch as it approximates a formally convincing statement of a conception or apprehension of life that gains our unquestioning assent." It is extremely rare to encounter poetry that lives up to this description, that is so formally convincing and so capable of apprehending the world that it can stir both mind and spirit to a degree that we nod our heads, laugh, even weep at times. Creech pulls this off with regularity. And of course the irony is, that the poems, as they gain our unquestioning assent, first cause us to question ourselves, our sense, our faith, and our memories, the very means by which we attempt to apprehend the world. Simply put, FIELD KNOWLEDGE was the perfect choice for the first Anthony Hecht award. It is a rare achievement.