Breeze, winner of the 2003 Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry, exudes a material and musical sensibility, informed as much by the sound of a word as it rolls off the tongue as by the ideas it may trigger. Two beliefs shape these poems. First, that attention to language—to its sound and vagary—is as crucial to writing as attentiveness to the minutiae of the world. Second, that language and the world will always make an uneven fit.
In these carefully crafted poems, John Latta traces the process of language attempting to align its measure against the amplitude of the world. His writing recognizes the futility of representing the world while braving the caprice of trying to do so. Made of image, invention, and music, the poetry of Breeze challenges and inspires.
“In his poems, John Latta walks this tightrope between meaning and non-meaning, as he balances high up in the air, leaping, somersaulting, each gesture full of grace and wit. Breeze, … is a masterful performance.” — The Literary Review
“Latta’s range is wide enough to accommodate realistic imagery and madcap hallucinations. His voice wanders confidently amid registers of earnest, measured contemplation and fractured, frazzled super-stimulation. No matter where Latta puts us, however, he always does it with a special kind of clarity . . . Breeze is a rewarding collection from a poet who seems just now to be hitting his stride.” — Rain Taxi Review of Books
“This is a poetry of rigorous self-discipline, active intelligence and mutable conjury. He gives words their spin in the world with observance and seemingly casual strides. Note the completely artful attention throughout, the great care to diverse phenomena and the registration of the world according to imaginative polarities. Breeze is a generous and profoundly thoughtful collection of poems. There’s as much to learn from it as there is to enjoy.” — Bookslut.com
“A fully-voiced, self-conscious, rich rhetoric is on display in these poems. . . . Breeze establishes Latta as a stylist of the moment well worth turning—and returning—to.” — Free Verse
“I find myself deeply engaged—and even reassured in some un-nameable Rilkean way—by the poems of John Latta, whose work seems constantly wedded to a talking about language—and its limits—at the same time as he allows each poem to unfold—in astonishing language.” — Poetry International
Winner of the 2003 Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry