In the upcoming Winter/Spring 2010 issue of the Sycamore Review, you will find my positive and highly political review of David Lau’s Virgil and the Mountain Cat, his first book published last spring in UC Press’s New California Poetry series. I’m a big fan of that series and now a fan of Lau’s, so I hope you will go out, get the journal and read it. Here’s an excerpt from the review:
Virgil and the Mountain Cat, for all the bleakness and hopelessness it ascribes to our collective present and future (or perhaps due to it), stands as the most authentic and original books of new verse I’ve read in the last year or two. I am grateful to Mr. Lau for his insistence on pointing at the darkness and asking us to not look away, to not go on working (and writing) as though everything was fine. […] Violently refusing any conventions that might result in comfortable, sedating, or lulling tones and sentiments, this book, described by Mark Levine on the back cover as “an unforgiving glimpse of the horizonless present,” can’t help but resonate with the “absent future” seen with such fatalist urgency by the striking students at the UCSC campus where Lau teaches. And in the end, it is this refusal that I am most grateful for.
The rest of the review is available in the issue. I hope you will buy it and check it out.