Among the new poems in David Yezzi’s More Things in Heaven you will find some of his best poems, poems in which his vision — both deeply humane and restless — is expanded further and yet made more solid. It is a vision according to which, as he writes in “The Flaying of Marsyas,” one of the most striking of the new poems, Yezzi “wonder[s] at / what misdeed made the god so very angry / he stopped the feral pipes of revelry.” Here are heard the feral pipes of revelry that now so infrequently sound.

—Shane McCrae

 David Yezzi’s poems inhabit several modes — lyric, narrative, elegiac, comic, ekphrastic — and he navigates them as memorably and deftly in free verse as he does in received forms. New poems delve movingly into the lives of Satie, Tsvetaeva, and Bach. At home, too, he hits a nerve: capturing a rare moment of awe in high school, “with us irremediably young / and strung out from love, / and lack of love.” Yezzi brilliantly combines compassion with dry-eyed insight; he knows how to wring a distinctively wry delight from the less than idyllic. 

—J. Allyn Rosser

 Yezzi is equally good with a naturalistic verse monologue, with high ridiculousness or high seriousness, and also with the most gratifyingly low light verse. But the mode in which he’s probably most distinguished among contemporary poets is dramatic verse, . . . with his superb sense of rhythm, phrasing, diction, timing, and syntax, with his special skill at characterization, and with deep sensitivity to real speech. He brings these gifts to his lyrics as well, in a way that challenges the limitations of the contemporary autobiographical poem.

—Joshua Mehigan



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David Yezzi’s latest books of poetry are Birds of the Air and Black Sea. He is the editor of The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets, foreword by J. D. McClatchy.His verse play Schnauzer, produced by the Baltimore Poets Theater, is available from Exot Books. A former director of the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York, he teaches in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins.