The God of This World to His Prophet

“Bill Coyle’s poems can strike every kind of note: they are grave or touching,
acerbic or funny, and always civil. He writes with a clear flow of lively
thought, and at the same time plays the whole instrument of poetry. His first
book is a signal event.”

--Richard Wilbur

"Bill Coyle is a welcome new voice in a crowded choir. He brings to
it sweetness and purity of tone. He gets the small things right (as in
the lapidary four-line "Regret"), and he has the proper levity to handle
gravity. In the end, there's a largeness and a seriousness at work--and
at play--here. It makes for a winning combination and collection."

--Brad Leithauser

"Reading “Aubade,” the tiny poem that concludes Coyle’s
collection, is like witnessing a hole-in-one. It’s a single, flawless stroke:
'On a dead street / in a high wall / a wooden gate / I don’t recall /
ever seeing open / is today / and I who happen / to pass this way /
in passing glimpse / a garden lit / by dark lamps / at the heart of it.' /
That final period (the cup, so to speak, into which the poem disappears)
is the only punctuation. Coyle makes commas unnecessary by breaking
the sentence so skillfully across dimeter lines. He also makes those
clever alternating full- and off-rhymes seem perfectly inevitable.
What ices it, though, is the bracing strangeness of that last image: .
'lit / by dark lamps., One suspects that even Coyle, for all his formal
control, didn’t see that one coming. If some of the poems that precede
“Aubade” seem, by contrast, a little too much under his control,
offering the mastery without the mystery, well, there’s a lot
to be said for mastery."

Eric McHenry, The New York Times Book Review

"Coyle’s formality…is simple mastery. He is absolutely on top of his game,
giving us a rich perspective, graceful even in doubting. He is easily one of the best poets of his generation."

David Mason, The Hudson Review

Read the whole review here


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