Poetry News

Let's Talk About First Books: Randall Horton Considers R. Erica Doyle's Proxy and francine harris's allegiance at LARB

By Harriet Staff


We're all about Los Angeles Review of Books this week. Yesterday we brought to your intergalactic attention a new column by Dorothea Lasky featured at the publication; today we bring you this review by Randall Horton praising freshly released first collections by R. Erica Doyle and francine harris. Read 'em and weep, or, grow up a little, courtesy of LARB:

SOME LITERARY CRITICS assume that first books of poetry will necessarily display a certain level of immaturity, even if revealing quite a bit of promise, or perhaps even prodigy. There is an expectation that the reader will leave the book thinking, “Well, it’s just a first collection, and I really did enjoy it, but the poet needs to live a little more.” That said, in the small community where I grew up, there was a saying used by older folks, when they saw a small child who did not act like a child: they would say, “That child been here before.” After reading first books by R. Erica Doyle and francine harris, one could conclude that they have “been here before.” Doyle’s Proxy and harris’s allegiance display extraordinary levels of maturity, of understanding the contemporary state of poetry as it relates to aesthetics, and of understanding language itself and language practices. These writers are grounded in form, but are not afraid of postmodern experimental practices. The lenses through which they choose to confront language, sexuality, urban structures, religion, and human interaction articulate a deep understanding of the frameworks and ideologies that pervade their social worlds. [...]

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Originally Published: July 8th, 2014