Ten Thousand Good Mornings

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Selected Reviews for
Ten Thousand Good Mornings

“Critics of Reiss’s three previous volumes have referred to his plain style, which certainly continues here, but Reiss can deploy rhyme, alliteration, assonance, the caesura, and a variety of poetic forms, from couplets to concrete, just for the fun of it, and with a skill that, more often than not, works for the poems rather than against them. … Reiss is capable of a surprising awkwardness and an equally surprising lyricism, all in the course of a single poem, almost in a single breath, as in ‘Lily’: ‘Saw how, twice-dappled // with drizzle & beauty marks, she tilted a bit in her vase / toward my pencil as if she could lift it to write // & tell me the checkered tall story of all things in bloom. / Saw two of her petals were nibbled—by a rabbit? a fawn?’”
—Laurel Blossom, American Book Review

“One has to admire a poet who ends his book with a poem called ‘Prelude,’ which harks back to a college moment when the speaker realizes the power of and the parallels between art and memory. Reiss is a virtuoso; the poems often surprise in their highly formal treatment of ordinary life.”
—Kate Templeton Fox, Ohioana Quarterly

“The formal variety, the pure verbal delight, the uncanny Reiss genius for balancing by the line the joyous and the heartbreaking (cf that little miracle of a poem, ‘Cycle,’), the extravagant and unflinching appetite for being alive, for love and suffering, hope and despair. Reading this book makes me wonder why I bother reading anyone else—it really is that good.  Every time one of my students’ imagination fails, I shall touch them on the forehead with this book.”
—Sherod Santos

My Daughters in New York

What streets, what taxis transport them
over bridges & speed bumps—my daughters swift

in pursuit of union? What suitors amuse them, what mazes
of avenues tilt & confuse them as pleasure, that pinball,

goes bouncing off light posts & lands in a pothole,
only to pop up & roll in the gutter? What footloose new

freedoms allow them to plow through all stop signs,
careening at corners, hell-bent for the road to blaze straight?

It’s 10 P.M. in the boonies. My children, I’m thinking
you’re thinking your children are waiting

for you to conceive them while you’re in a snarl
with my sons-in-law-to-be who want also to be

amazing explorers beguiled by these reckless night rides
that may God willing give way to ten thousand good mornings!