Poetry round-up: Nature, cities, poignant field notes and a Japanese translation

Greg Delanty, Mary O’Donnell, Rowan Ricardo Phillips and Julie Morrissy

Greg Delanty: His work moves from satire to celebration, from lyric song to plain demotic. Photograph: Brian MacDonald

Greg Delanty: His work moves from satire to celebration, from lyric song to plain demotic. Photograph: Brian MacDonald

“Consider what follows as writing by an animal,” bids Greg Delanty’s prefatory note to No More Time (Louisiana State University Press, $17.95). The artful title of the first section, A Field Guide to People, highlights our innate tendency to attribute human characteristics to nature.

A fine formal achievement brimming with Delanty’s characteristic wit, it is not the first alpha-bestiary of recent years but its 26-sonnet sequence in tricky terza rima is surely one of a kind. Celebrating as it laments, recording as it warns, often with more than a touch of comic horror, “Quell your qualms, man. You’re a natural carnivore./ Whatever you do, don’t look at your hooves now./ You’re standing in their skins.” (Bos Taurus)

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