Books: Five Voices and Harmonies

Verse turns few profits, but the art remains healthy

To the despair of their accountants, publishers continue to release books of poetry—more than 400 a year in the U.S. That number is swelled by vanity presses and duplicating or mimeograph machines. Almost no one makes money in the process. New poetry volumes are not piled up by cash registers; some stores even begrudge them shelf space. Yet the situation is not as dismal as it seems. Poets continue to write, and persistent readers continue to find them. Promising new voices speak out; others fulfill earlier promises. This season offers five books that...

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