Climbing Criticism

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The book jacket of The Book of Light contains quotations from two prominent poets, Sharon Olds and Denise Levertov, that typify the critical response to the book. Olds writes, "These are poems of fierce joy, made as if under the pressure of passionate witness . . . They [the book's poems] have the exactness and authority of laws of nature—they are principles of life." Levertov is equally effusive in her praise, writing, "poem after poem exhilarates and inspires awe at the manifestation of such artistic and spiritual power." Reviewing the collection for Poetry, Calvin Bedient expresses reservations about Clifton's politics but commends her development as a poet, writing, "If this poet's art has deepened since her 1969 debut volume, Good Times, it's in an increased capacity for quiet delicacy and fresh generalization. The Book of Light contains several poems that show Clifton's penchant and gift for lucid self-assessment, indeed a forbearance...

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This section contains 195 words
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Poetry for Students
Climbing from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.