Reviews for UNDERGROUND: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
The New York Times
“Jim Moore’s poems are an artful amalgam of humor and fierce attention, suffused by a passion for ancient Asian poetry. Like his sage poet-teachers he grasps the quiet power of white space, knowing that what is unsaid is often just as crucial as what is.”
“Gathering from Jim Moore’s seven previous collections and including new work, “Underground: New and Selected Poems” demonstrates Moore’s consistent dedication to the revelatory power of the image.”
“I have loved Jim Moore’s brief ‘invisible strings’ since I first stumbled into a few in a magazine. They are chips of reality, obsidian flakes of the heart and mind.” –Jane Hirshfield
Reviews for INVISIBLE STRINGS
“Jim Moore’s poems are an artful amalgam of humor and fierce attention, suffused by a passion for ancient Asian poetry. Like his sage poet-teachers he grasps the quiet power of white space, knowing that what is unsaid is often just as crucial as what is. Mr. Moore’s strengths are all at work in “Epitaph,” here in full: “He stole forsythia./He lived for love./He never got caught.”
As Mr. Moore’s years have lengthened, so too have his poetics deepened: “The more I study it now,/the art of my superiors, the more/I see how it is mostly darkness.” Still, Mr. Moore never succumbs to chic nihilism. He relishes the music in “the dog’s long contented sighs.” And he pays attention to more than the eternal. Of Italy he writes, “How can you not love a country where the meter maids wear high heels?”
The Believer (Editor’s Shortlist)
“In his seventh collection, Jim Moore writes with a Zen-like clarity poems about the natural world, relationships, memory, and the passage of time. These are sparse, clear-eyed poems from a man writing from the autumn years of his life—one foot firmly planted on earth, the other extended outward, toes cautiously tickling the unknown. In a late poem: “the black dog / on the wet sand chases the red ball / until the end of time.”
[ excerpt ] Jim Moore faces this dilemma of meaning and attempted meaning throughout Invisible Strings, his newest book of poems, and so, as it can be with double-sided dilemmas, some of the poems are terrific, simple, lovely diagrams of human phenomenologies: loneliness, old age and in the more ambitious poems: observations of what the world does to the world. [ full review ]
Ploughshares (Editor’s Choice by Jane Hirshfield)
“I have loved Jim Moore’s brief ‘invisible strings’ since I first stumbled into a few in a magazine. They are chips of reality, obsidian flakes of the heart and mind. In form they remind me strongly of Mary Barnard’s translations of Sappho (the way a set-apart first line functions as both title and opening). Their fragmentary quality, and their deep affirmation of reality as it is, does as well. And, as with Sappho, the worldview here is complex, nuanced, and deep. These poems are also, I should add, thoroughly of our own time, with their references to Abu Ghraib, freeways, and cell phones, and thoroughly the work of an American man of a certain age, looking at his own life and at the lives of others with fully open eyes, mind, and heart.”
Portland Book Review
[ excerpt ] His writing is sometimes brief and to the point, but this less-is-more technique allows the reader to search for meaning between the lines. [ full review ]
OONA | on contemporary poetry and poetics
[ excerpt ] Most comforting of all, is Moore’s ability to portray the intense anxiety that comes with a life well loved. “I want to believe it,” Moore writes in The Four Stages of Love, “I don’t have to be afraid/for my own death, not even,/Love, for yours”. Moore reminds us, in Above All, Don’t Forget, “to worry about what you do deserve,/what you don’t”. A short poem entitled Waiting to Take Off simply mentions the superstitious act of “try[ing] not to listen to the directions/to the emergency exits”.
[ excerpt ] Moore writes of what brings us closer, and of those accidental encounters that trigger the emotions. Age and gravity scrape away the superficial, leaving the bare essences of what makes us human. [ full review ]
[ excerpt ] If poetry is meant to be spoken, it is the poetry of Jim Moore.
[ excerpt ] Their brevity [Moore’s poems] and impressionism make the larger, abstract ideas of ruin, death, loss, love, and companionship which they’re set against seem all the more terrible and gratifying.