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on June 26, 2003
I spent days, after reading this book, weeks, imbibing and re-imbibing every syllable. I felt the kind of drunk, dizzy, first-time-in-love kind of love for this language that I hadn't felt for poetry in a decade. I've gone back and read it again maybe two, three, or ninety times since, and it hasn't lost its vertigos of wonder. It has inspired a host of imitators (Brenda Shaughnessy, Karen Volkman, Mary Jo Bang), none of whom are as brave or wild or awe-inducing. That an author so unprolific should inspire a whole new branch of writing bespeaks the importance of this book; poets who read it often feel that they've found something that had been missing from all poetries leading up to it, and afterwards everything they read seems predictable, emotionless, and linguistically flat. The last time a book came along that was this daring and this powerful, it was posthumous: Sylvia Plath's _Ariel_, whose swoops and deft gestures of language don't actually come close to those of _The Master Letters_.
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on May 12, 1999
This reworking of themes from Dickinson and other sources is sexy, intellectual, sentimental, unsentimental, funny, heartbreaking, and groovy. Lucie Brock Broido is one of the most talented and under-appreciated poets writing today. An example of brilliance: "was keeper of the badly marred, was furious done god."
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on December 17, 1999
This is one of the best and most fascinating books of poems published in the last quarter of the 20th century. An extraordinary accomplishment.
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