Coming on the heels of the very well received Counting Myself Lucky: Selected Poems 1963-1992, this new book of poems confirms Edward Field’s reputation of one of our finest poets in the discursive narrative tradition. Field, a native New Yorker and longtime gay activist, writes poetry that is literate, immediate, funny and completely personal. These unforgettable poems are small essays on the human condition spoken by a trusted friend.
Among the surprise pleasures of Field’s Frieze is “The Poetry File,” a long sequence of prose ruminations on the American poetry scene in our time. At once gossipy, dishy, knowlegeable, witty, eloquent, this “insider” account names names without batting an eye: “Of course, poetry really has an inner elite. There is no democracy of standards in poetry . . . . To be a successful poet today you have to be very sophisticated, smooth, unassailable . . . self-referential.”
Ed Field’s poetry remains always referential to a world rather than to himself. And that world is a very real one.
“When I started writing,” he recalled, “I wanted my poetry to save the world . . . . It has to do with poetry as magic, the magic of words.
“I still believe it’s a kind of magic.”