Summer 2002 • Vol. XXIV No. 3/4 Book ReviewsJuly 1, 2002 |

A Way to Frame the Truth

The Tether by Carl Phillips. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001. 83 pages. $22.00, cloth.   In "Recumbent," a central poem in Carl Phillips's fifth collection, The Tether, the speaker utters a miniature catalog that encapsulates the book's central themes and the formal resources with which Phillips explores them: … less the truth, than a way to frame it; those losses which no inadequate guilt attends; a devotion across which, let a bit of the flaw show; … (38) Three abstractions—truth, loss, and devotion—combine to form an armature around which most of these new poems revolve. Each, here and throughout the book, is at once complicated and constituted by erasure, absence, or brokenness. The poet pursues not truth but "a way to frame it." He modifies the losses in which he is interested, limiting them to that double-negative subset unattended by "inadequate guilt." Even devotion, with its etymological roots in wholeness, promise, and dedication, see

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The Tether by Carl Phillips. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001. 83 pages. $22.00, cloth.   In "Recumbent," a central poem in Carl Phillips's fifth collection, The Tether, the […]

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