From the powerful drama and formal boldness of "The Status Seekers" to the various theories of criticism in "The Nervousness of Yvor Winters," Kathleen Ossip's second collection takes up the crazed threads of modern experience and all its contradictions. Each poem, each new approach is an attempt to extract something concrete from an era not yet past. Yet as the poet probes and wonders, she gradually reveals another narrative, built on strangled emotion and subdued lyricism. The Cold War is jagged and thought-provoking. It questions the origins and premises of contemporary American culture.
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The book opens with a jumpy ode on melancholy that takes off, as two of the best of these poems do, from a hefty quote from a weighty book (in this poem's case Karl Menninger's The Human Mind) and the words "In those days": "Melancholia, we cherished," writes Ossip, and, later, "The intellect's/ ...Apr 18 2011 | Read Full Review of The Cold War