Delights and Shadows Criticism

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Critics have generally regarded Kooser's Delights & Shadows as representative of his poetry as whole: sparely written and accessible, with powerful imagery that explores the unexpected in the small events of everyday life. Reviewing the book for the website ninetyandnine.com, David Bunch wrote,

He continually grabs the reader's attention by taking a seemingly ordinary event or observation, placing it into what at first glance could be an ordinary poem, and then turning it all on its head by linking it with something so striking that the reader is faced head-on with the enormity of reality.

One aspect of Kooser's work that has gained much critical attention is the craft and depth of the collection as a whole. Calling the poems "understated, more plain than pretty," Elizabeth Lund of the Christian Science Monitor also noted that "what's most remarkable about this book … is the consistency of tone...

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