Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Landman succeeds in taking a few big, beautiful risks in these three heavily linked long poems…[T]he work reveals Landman as a master of conversational poetics and a deep thinker about words.”
by Seth Landman
Pub Date: August 15, 2015
My whole life I have thought the clouds were letters in a language I could almost understand. Seth Landmans Confidence doesn’t help me understand that language, but it helps me understand the great beauty in the almost. These poems are descendants of Williams Asphodel. They are poems that metamorphose upon rereading. Keep your eye on the weather, these poems say, it will change soon. And so will you.
Confidence tells of joy and suffering with equal grace, in fluid lines that glide from the banal to the enorm, as does, you know, life. These long, patient poems are casually astonishing. They lift me from this planet up into the night sky and then gently set me down again. They are as bold and as trusting as the book’s title suggests. The risks they take make me sometimes feel exhilarated, like “Here is a poet who doesn’t give a damn!” And then I read on, and realize a damn is absolutely given, that Seth Landman is a poet of great tenderness and compassion. Thank goodness for him. This book just gave my world a little more glow.
Seth Landman is a master of the souls secrets. In this series of three urgent long-poem wonders laced with shame, reverence, and a necessary wit (is everyone the person / everyone wishes / everyone was / not tonight / not tonight) these poems unabashedly, bravelysome might say devotedlyapproach the great warble of love with gravity as they stress a Transcendental stance that would rival his heroes. Landmans late-night whiskey-fueled whisper-song insistence on disclosing the great joys: oh and one more thing / before you go // I love one more thing puts one in a state of grace, of gratitude. I dont want to go to sleep he writes, but to pay for this in the morningand yes, yes, lets stay up all night with Confidence.
A reverie of tears & love & fears, an attempt to make sense of our core confusions while talking to the sun & the sea & Van Morrison, a book written to attempt the world into something real, Seth Landmans Confidence does for feelings what a ship does for humans in the middle of the ocean.
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Landman succeeds in taking a few big, beautiful risks in these three heavily linked long poems [T]he work reveals Landman as a master of conversational poetics and a deep thinker about words.
Landman suggests that the individual voice arises, and is only possible as, a form of response. The dialogic nature of speech, and even consciousness itself, is enacted in the style of the work as we begin to gather that I and you have become interchangeable, the speaker recounting details of his life as though he were another. Within this carefully orchestrated conversation, we learn about the speaker through his interactions with those around him. This seeing ultimately becomes a source of self-knowledge. The reader, too, is asked to situate herself within the books relational topography, renegotiating, then dismantling, the boundaries she has constructed between self and other, subject and object, viewer and viewed.
[R]eading Landmans work is at times like sitting in a bar with a friend late at night, listening as he talks his way towards a realization. What makes Landmans work extraordinary is that he doesnt privilege the realization itself over the process of realization.
“Confidence is, as its controlling metaphor suggests, a breakwater, a breakwater for ennui and melancholy regarding not only the world in which the speaker lives but writing that enervates it.”
“[F]luidity saturates Confidence, and when combined with other ingenious techniques and images, such as moody liquid, coughing engine, and iron snow, one comprehends the true quality of the book. In addition to quality, there is depth. If the reader were a Lacanian, for example, he or she would appreciate Landmans equation of water and death, hence the oceanic feeling of the undifferentiated Real.”