David Orr's review of Robert Wrigley's Lives of the Animals (August, 2004) is not only regrettable for its weighted cynicism, but grossly misrepresents the work of one of our essential poets. Orr's comment that Wrigley's aesthetic "has to do with primitive carnal urges and actions" seems to imply that such issues are not acceptable subject matter for poetry. One wonders what other concerns would be added to Orr's list as inappropriate. What is most inexcusable, however, is the reviewer's dismissal of the book's richly textured title poem by carelessly citing stanzas, which he claims are "representative," out of context. Orr's disservice here to the potential reader is that he wrongly trivializes what's at stake in Wrigley's poetry. Lives of the Animals compels us to examine our human vulnerability, and in doing so discover our inherent dignity. David Orr has failed to recognize this intricacy.
Manchester, New Hampshire