Veil: New and Selected Poems
Author: Rae Armantrout
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press (2001)
First book of selected poems by this core member of the Language writing group. Veil contains poems from five of Armantrout's previous books as well as a generous selection of new poems. Her work relies tenaciously on the intelligibility of language, her careful syntax bordering on plain speech and meticulously scored lines always questioning how linguistic subjects are formed. Fans will welcome the chance to become reacquainted with her witty and lyric meditations on erotic and family issues, and new readers will be captivated by her poems' immediate availability and freshness.
"Armantrout is usually considered the most lyrically oriented of the language poets . . . Wesleyan's selection shows that―as with William Carlos Williams, to whom Armantrout owes a debt in the curious torquing of her sentences—it is not stylistic pyrotechnics, grandiose theoretical syntheses or encyclopedic references that drive these terrific poems, but an original and quirky turn of mind."
"This long-awaited collection proves that Armantrout is not a 'language poet' and is not confined by expectations of the American avant-garde, among which much of her work has appeared. In brief lines and unexpected weavings, Armantrout addresses history, love, nature, and the darkness of domesticity. This is one of the best books of poetry released in 2001."
"Wit like the proverbial razor, clarity a shimmer of glass, these poems make truth a simple matter, elegant, wistful—forever."