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Life in the Second Circle: Poems Paperback – Mar 22 2012
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By Ned Balbo - Published on Amazon.com
And what a life it is! Technically confident, Michael Cantor's poems unfold with winning charm and candor. Their range is impressive: from forgotten football hero Billy Crowther and heavyweight Muhammad Ali (the latter shares space with Joseph Cornell and Wal-Mart icon Sam Walton in the same poem) to masterful dramatic monologues--including "Freshly Shaved and Barbered Well" (about a dowser's arrival in a drought-parched town: "Fish, belly-up in the shallow inlets,/will swim and see again, I promise them"). Elsewhere, the poet explores Dantean damnation with intelligence and tenderness. Among my favorites: "Trudy in New York on Business" and the smart, touching "Looking Back" whose self-aware speaker creates so convincing a report of a Seventies-style open marriage that he deceives himself: the story "worked so well he finally forgot/which parts of it were true and which were not." These poems travel the world, from Antwerp and the former Leningrad to New York, Venice, and Japan, but at the center of Cantor's Second Circle lies desire fulfilled and thwarted in poems rich with wit and elegantly voiced.
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