"As if they were a crowd of pilgrims/singing in the rain.../their music rises from an earth/that will not stay in tune." So F.D. Reeve writes in a poem entitled "Violets in a Pewter Vase." For nearly fifty years, he has found in nature both a refuge from human imperfection and an exquisite rejoinder to it. Whether that imperfection be the war in Afghanistan, worsening economic inequality, or even the ridiculous pretense of a thoroughly professionalized poetry, Reeve makes of aesthetic perception a kind of subjunctive faith. For a moment one man's skill offers the possibility of redemption, and the alternatives behind experience bloom like those fragile violets in a pewter vase. With its elegant short lyrics and long dramatic poem, which reworks the Daedalus-Icarus myth by situating it on a Caribbean island and which serves as the text for a jazz opera, The Puzzle Master breaks new ground in the music of holistic response. In this his tenth collection, the winner of the Golden Rose Award for lifetime achievement in poetry offers a poetry adequate to our time.
Praise for F. D. Reeve's work:
"This is a beautiful book, first and last and in between."
—Richard Wilbur on The Toy Soldier
"One of America's most gifted and individual poets."
—Robert Giroux on The Blue Cat
"A cool, dispassionate contemplation of eternalities."
—Anthony Hecht on The Urban Stampede
"There is a sheen over the world, a verbal surface containing wide life, giving prolonged pleasure."
—Richard Eberhart on Concrete Music