In a country where much of the prominent poetry seeks to affirm the fleeting present and its changing values, John Peck’s poetry comes as an important, if unlikely, gift. Peck’s verse deals the cards of the fragmentary, ideogramic, juxtapositional, and elliptical through the deck of normally discursive syntax. Echoing late high Modernism, Peck’s work, in the words of novelist Joseph McElroy, is “a way of seeing things,” confident “in the packed vividness of the referential.” Avoiding the narrow identity- or group-specific viewpoint of some of his contemporaries, Peck invites us to enter the larger humanscape and unearth with him unnoticed connections to our shared past and to one another. In Contradance, his ninth collection, Peck’s passion for inquiry and historical reflection has never been stronger or more beautifully embodied.
University of Chicago Press